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Story and Legend Library 


Story and Legend Library 

Fully Illustrated. Price 25. 6d. net each 


MYTHS. By Gladys Davidson. 

STORIES OF OLD RENOWN. Tales of KnighU and 
Heroes. By Ascott R. Hops. 

Great Achievements Series 

Fully Illustrated. Price 2s. 6d. net each 

THE AGE OF MACHINERY. By Alexander R. Hornb. 





THE MASTERY OF THE AIR. By William J. Claxton. 

MODERN WEAPONS OF WAR. By Land, Sea, and Air. 
By Cyril Hall. 


« * 

* • 



AuAeTtf^iitmi ami Hmk Doit tjtkt Gnu War" 



* ■ 


•• • 









72 ^ 




List of Plates 


Pbtrushka Holds thb Wolvbs at Bay - Frontis^c^ 

<* Maksim felt himself being lifted and cariubd 
away" 49 

<* People came from all parts of Russia to gaze 
UPON THE Princess" 64 

KoKO AND Little Mikhail 80 

« < One golden bgo each morning ', said little Ivan's 
mother" 97 

Sir Jerome Pays a Visit to the Scots Quarter in 
Moscow 112 

Petrushka and Marya Start on the Journey to 
Moscow 145 

*<*JUMP IN I* shouted the DRIVER TO PbTRUSHKA • - l6o 

-•. . • '. 

• -** ••* •••. 




Russia is not only the largest but is also one 
of the flattest countries in Europe. An impression 
of its flatness is obtained from the statement that 
the projected canal to connect the Baltic and Black 
Seas would require only two locks, and yet be 
deep enough for the greatest vessels afloat In 
this vast and monotonous land, where even a 
small hill seems imposing, the surface features are 
all on a big scale. There are great stretches of 
forest; the northern port of Archangel, for instance, 
draws supplies of timber from a forest as large 
as Ireland. There are immense marshes, wide 
barren areas, great stretches of fine pasture land^ 
and of most fertile soil well cultivated. 

Mighty rivers intersect the vast Russian plain. 
Europe's longest river is the Volga, which has a 
course of about 2400 miles, and pours its waters 
into the Caspian Sea through some seventy mouths. 
It is connected by canals with the Black, Baltic, 

10- ■. •..-: Russian Folk- Life 

•llantf rPjDlar- ^sas: .Steamers ply up and down it for 
hundreds of miles, and it can be navigated by 
barges to its source, a small lake situated to the 
east of the low Valdai hills. The construction 
of canals in connection with the rivers has done 
much to promote the agricultural and other in- 
dustries. Russia has within its borders over 
icx>,ocx> miles of navigable water-ways. 

There are sharp changes of climate in the 
various areas and during the different seasons. 
Over the greater part of the country the winter is 
severe, and, of course, lasts longest in the north. 
When the snow melts in the Valdai hills, which 
form the chief watershed in Russia, the rivers are 
flooded and overflow their banks, just as the Nile 
overflows in Eg^pt, and large tracts of country lie 
under water for several weeks. The summer is 
hot and dry. At the northern port of Archangel, 
for instance, where the sea is frozen over for six 
months, the summer heat is much greater than 
in Great Britain, and the fish-curers of Archangel 
have to use refrigerators to store the fish. In 
the southern agricultural districts the crops often 
suffer from summer drought. This drawback, 
however, is being gradually overcome by the con- 
struction of irrigating canals, and it is calculated 
that, eventually, when the Russian rivers are con- 
trolled like the Nile, the annual yield of wheat 
will be doubled, if not trebled. 

Southern Russia is rich in agricultural land. 
Northern Russia, a land of great forests, has poor 

Introduction 1 1 

thin soil, except along the rivers. A line drawn 
across the country from the city of Kiev, on the 
river Dnieper, to that of Kazan on the Volga, 
will form roughly the border between the forest 
area and the agricultural area. To the south- 
east lie the sandy deserts and steppes round the 
Caspian Sea, where the climate is too dry for 

The Russians belong for the most part to that 
branch of the human race which is known as 
Slavonic. There are three main groups of Russian 
Slavs, the people of Great Russia, the people of 
White Russia, and the people of Little Russia. 
These differ from one another in dialect, and to 
a certain degree in appearance, just as the areas 
they occupy have different characteristics. 

Little Russia, about twice the size of France, 
embraces chiefly the agricultural district of the 
south. Kiev is its principal town. Its climate is, 
on the whole, less extreme than in most other 
parts of Russia, the winter being more genial 
than in the central area. The inhabitants, some- 
times called the " Black Russians *', are taller and 
darker than those in the northern areas. They 
include the Cossacks. 

White Russia extends from the boundaries of 
Poland in a north-eastern direction. It is a 
thinly-populated land of marshes and forests. 

Great Russia, which embraces the larger part 
of central and eastern Russia, is entirely in the 
forest zone. About two-thirds of the Slav popu- 

12 Russian Folk-Life 

lation inhabit it The people are^ fairer than 
those of Little Russia, and they speak a distinct 
dialect of the Russian language, which resembles 
that of White Russia, but differs greatly from the 
speech of Little Russia. The chief city of Great 
Russia is Moscow, which was the capital of the 
empire before Petrograd was built. The people 
are the descendants of the old Muscovites, who 
laid the foundation of Russia's greatness. 

In addition to the Slavs, the population of 
Russia also includes people of several other races. 
The most important are: (i) the Lithuanians! 
along the Baltic coast; (2) the Finns, in the north; 
and (3) the Mongol Tartars, on the east There 
are also large communities of Jews, and within 
the Arctic circle there are tribes of Lapps owing 
allegiance to the Tsar. 

The history of Russia is practically the story of 
how the Slavs have adapted themselves to the 
local conditions of life, and have resisted and 
overcome the invasions of aliens who have from 
time to time atten^pted to conquer their country. 

There are old legends which tell that the 
ancestors of the Slavs were three brothers, named 
RuSy Lech, and Cech. Each became a king and 
founded the nations of the Russians, the Lechites 
(the Poles), and the Czechs (the Slavs of Bohemia). 
Scholars are not agreed as to the meaning of these 
names. Some consider, for instance, that " Rus " 
means "Red", and is, in origin, the same name as 
Rufus. The northern Russians are of a reddish 

Introduction 13 

fairness. Another theory is that " Rus " is a 
Scandinavian tribal name, identical with the 
Swedish **Hros". However this may be, from 
the earliest times of which we have knowledge 
the Slavs on the north of the Black Sea — that 
is, in Little Russia — were known as the ** Rus ", 
and, as has been stated, the inhabitants of this 
area are darker than those of the north. 

Russia was divided in ancient times into various 
kingdoms. The first historic invaders came from 
the north. These were the Norsemen, who were 
called the Varagians or Varangians. Among these 
conquerors was the famous Rurik (Roderick), 
who was, according to later tradition, the founder 
of the first Russian dynasty. The capital of the 
northern kingdom was Novgorod, which means 
New-burgh, a name that suggests the previous 
existence of an old borough as an even more 
ancient centre of government and trade. 

The Varangians invaded the southern lands of 
Little Russia, and overcame the petty kings of 
Kiev in the ninth century. Thereafter Kiev 
became the capital of all the states. United 
under one ruler, the Russians then became very 
powerful, and began to develop their commerce 
and extend their boundaries. 

The great trading centre in the south at the 
time was Constantinople, the capital of the 
Byzantine Empire. Against this city Oleg, the 
successor of Rurik, led a strong force. His army 
was transported down the river Dnieper to the 

14 Russian Folk-Life 

Black Sea in 2000 boats, in each of which were 
40 men. The narrow strait of the Bosphorus 
had been closed by floating booms and could not 
be entered. Oleg, however, hit upon a plan to 
reach the Sea of Marmora so as to strike direct 
at Constantinople. He is said to have had his 
ships mounted on wheels and drawn over the 
narrow neck of land separating the Black Sea 
from the Sea of Marmora. Constantinople was 
unable to resist the attack which followed, and 
the Byzantine Greeks paid a large indemnity to 
the invaders to induce them to withdraw. They 
also signed a treaty which gave the Russians 
liberty to conduct trade with Constantinople. 
Before leaving this city, Oleg fixed his shield 
on the outer wall to signify that he had con- 
quered it. 

One of the results of Russia's subsequent rela- 
tions with Byzantium, which the Turks ultimately 
conquered, was the spread of Christianity towards 
the north. The old Slavs were pagans, and the 
chief god they worshipped was called Perun, the 
god of lightning. His statue was of wood, with a 
silver face and a golden moustache. 

In the reign of Vladimir the idols were de- 
stroyed and the Russian people embraced Chris- 
tianity. This was the dawn of a new era of 
prosperity, and a beginning was made in building 
great Christian churches, like the church of St 
Sophia at Kiev, which was erected in 1037 and is 
still an imposing edifice. 

Introduction 15 

The Northerners, or Varangians, were ulti- 
mately driven out of Russia and the power of 
the Slavs became supreme. But the empire 
was again broken up into petty kingdoms which 
waged war against one another. Weakened by 
these feuds, the capacity of the Russians to resist 
invaders grew less and less. 

Early in the thirteenth century great hordes of 
Mongol Tartars began to pour out of Asia, re- 
solved to conquer not only Russia but the whole 
of Europe. Russia then became the protector of 
Western civilization, for so great Was the resis- 
tance it set up that the Mongolian Tartars found 
it impossible to establish permanent sway in the 
centre of Europe. 

For between two and three centuries (1238- 
1462) Russia herself remained under the Tartar 
yoke. Her princes had to pay tribute to their over- 
lords, who had imposed their will upon the various 
states. During this period Moscow grew in extent 
iand importance. In this city the aspirations of the 
oppressed people were fostered and strengthened, 
and it became in song and story a veritable Slav 
Fairyland. Many legends arose regarding its 
origin. Among these one of the most beautiful 
is the story of Princess Peerless, the fair maiden 
who was imprisoned in her own castle by the 
terrible demon who sought her for his bride. It 
is related in "The Lady of Moscow". This demon 
seems to symbolize the Tartar overlord whose 
dragon, or army, kept watch so as to prevent the 

i6 Russian Folk-Life 

Golden Knight from coming to the rescue of the 
sorrowing princess. But ultimately the dragon 
was overcome by the knight who wielded the 
invisible club, which one is tempted to regard as 
the symbol of the invisible bond of patriotism that 
unites and strengthens a people, and the demon's 
spell was then broken. After the chivalrous and 
fearless knight married the princess, Moscow be- 
came the seat of government 

It was in Moscow that there arose a new 
dynasty of native rulers, which included the 
famous Tsars named Ivan (John). The Musco- 
vites strove to achieve complete independence, 
and it was by them that the Tartar power was 
gradually shattered. Ivan III, known as Ivan 
the Great, ultimately found himself strong enough 
openly to defy the Tartars, and he refused to pay 
further tribute. Thereafter the Mongols might 
occasionally raid Russia, and even attack and 
burn the capital, but they never succeeded in 
conquering it again. 

Among the folk legends surviving from this 
period is the one related in "How Little Ivan 
became a Tsar ". The first Ivan was reputed to 
have been a poor lad, who set out on his travels 
like Dick Whittington. On reaching Moscow he 
was welcomed by the people, who were waiting 
to hail the first comer as their Tsar. 

The next story deals with Ivan IV, known 
as, *' Ivan the Terrible", who was a contemporary 
of Queen Elizabeth. This monarch, who did 


Introduction 17 

much to consolidate the strength of Russia, 
governed with great severity. He curbed the 
power of those nobles, the Boyarin, who under 
the Tartar regime had been invested with special 
privileges. As they continually plotted against 
Tsar Ivan, he lived in constant dread of revolu- 
tion, and many were charged with treason and 
put to death, not infrequendy after enduring 
great torture. 

Ivan the Terrible was the first Tsar who estab- 
lished friendly relations with England. He corre- 
sponded with Queen Elizabeth, and, it is even 
said, made her an offer of marriage. During his 
reign English merchants settled in Russia, and 
prospered greatly. Sir Jerome Horsey, the great 
English traveller, relates in his writings that Ivan 
employed as soldiers a number of Scottish adven- 
turers, who had been taken prisoners in the wars 
with Poland and Sweden. He rewarded them 
generously for their services in the campaigns 
against the Tartars of the Crimea, as is indicated 
in the story, *'Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers", 
in which use is made of Sir Jerome's interesting 
narrative. It is due to this Englishman's inter- 
vention that the Tsar availed himself of the assis- 
tance of the fighting Scots. 

When Ivan IV ascended the throne, the northern 
province of Novgorod was an independent state. 
Its inhabitants were governed by a prince, and 
the leading citizens, who held an open-air Parlia- 
ment which was summoned by ringing a bell. If 

i8 Russian Folk-Life 

the prince displeased the people, they promptly 
deposed him and elected a successor. Often free 
fights took place at meetings of the citizens. Ivan 
went north with an army, and, taking possession 
of Novgorod, included it in his empire. 

The period which followed Ivan's death was a 
disturbed one. Weak rulers sat on the throne, 
and then the King of Poland endeavoured to 
have himself declared Tsar. But the Russian 
people rose in revolt, and the throne passed to a 
grandson of the wife of Ivan the Terrible, a boy 
prince named Michael. Thus, in 1610, began 
the new dynasty of Romanoff. When Michael 
grew up, he promoted learning and commerce, 
and he attracted to Russia traders and scholars 
and artisans from the other countries. 

The most outstanding maker of modern Russia, 
however, was Peter the Great, who flourished in 
the eighteenth century. In the story related under 
the title, **The Man who Fought the Wolves", 
glimpses are afforded of the life and manners of his 
time. Tsar Peter perceived that the future pros- 
perity of his kingdom depended on the develop- 
ment of sea trade and the founding of a navy. 
Russia was until his time entirely an inland power, 
and its commerce was ever at the mercy of other 
states. Tsar Peter resolved to raise his country 
to first rank among the nations of Europe by 
developing its resources and organizing its trade 
on land and sea* 

Tq obtain knowledge of shipbuilding and navsil 

Introduction 19 

subjects he not only travelled a great deal, but 
also secured employment as an artisan in certain 
shipbuilding yards in Holland and England. On 
his return home he began to carry out the plans 
he had made for the good of his country. 

At the time Russia's chief rival on the Baltic 
coast was Sweden, and its king resolved to do 
his utmost to frustrate the designs of Tsar Peter. 
A great war ensued, from which Peter, after en- 
during severe reverses, emerged ultimately in 
triumph, securing possession of part of Finland, 
Livonia, and other lands on the Baltic. The way 
was now clear for the development of Russia's 
new policy. The Tsar caused the great city of 
St. Petersburg (now called Petrograd) to be built, 
and established shipbuilding yards and many other 
industries. Everything he touched he changed. 
He even reformed the Russian alphabet, when he 
set up printing presses to produce newspapers and 
books, including translations of foreign works of 
learning. Under his wise and energetic rule 
Russia made great and rapid progress; ere he 
died, it had taken its place among the foremost 
Powers of Europe. Probably no other country in 
the world owes so much to the efforts of a single 

Among the notable successors of Tsar Peter 
was Queen Catherine the Great, a lady of great 
intellectual gifts, who did much to promote learn- 
ing and art, and carried out many reforms in the 
interests of progress. She fpimdecj a i^umber pf 

ao Russian Folk-Life 

new towns, constructed roads and canals, and 
helped to develdp trade and industries. During 
her reign large tracts of the country were cleared 
of trees and divided into farming colonies. 

It is of interest to note at the present time that 
during Queen Catherine's reign a third of Poland 
was divided up between Austria, Germany, and 
Russia. This kingdom had fallen into a helpless 
condition, chiefly on account of internal dissen- 
sions. Other divisions subsequently took place, 
until in the end Poland ceased to exist as an 
independent state. 

Since the days of Peter the Great and Catherine 
the Great, Russia has steadily increased in extent 
and in prosperity. At the middle of the eighteenth 
century its population was about 14,000,000, but 
before the nineteenth century came to a close the 
empire included about 130,000,000 subjects. Its 
chief extension has been to the east. The pre- 
sent Tsar reigns over an empire which is about 
eight times larger than that of Ivan the Terrible. 

When we compare Russia with other countries 
in Europe, we find many points of difference. It 
must be recognized in the first place that it is 
very large, and that large countries are more diffi- 
cult to organize than small countries. Progress in 
certain directions has consequently been slower. 
Besides, the country as a whole is less capable of 
intensive development than our own. Towns and 
cities are not so numerous as in England, for in- 
stance, and they are separated by wide <^i?taiices, 

Introduction ai 

Withal, the people have a different outlook upon 
life from ours. Russians prefer their own manners 
and customs to those of other peoples ; they love 
their own country with the same fervour as we do 
ours ; and as the great war has shown, they are as 
brave as they are loyal. 

In private life the Russian Slavs are a people of 
simple habits and unaffected manners. They are 
very religious, and among the greatest buildings 
in their country are the churches and cathedrals. 
From the earliest times their outstanding character- 
istics have been their piety, their hospitality, and 
their respect for the authority of parents and 

The Russian Slavs have always struggled for 
liberty to live their own lives according to their 
own ideals. An ancient writer has said of them : 
**They are a dogged, laborious race, inured to 
the scantiest food, and they regard as a pleasure 
what is often a heavy burden to men of our time. 
They face any privations for their beloved liberty, 
and in spite of many reverses they are always 
ready to fight again." 

The organization of Russian national life has 
grown from the family life. In the domestic circle 
the father in ancient times was the supreme autho- 
rity, the judge and lawgiver. When families lived 
together and formed a grad or gorod (borough), a 
leader was chosen who was the ** father" of the 
social group. Similarly the Tsar is recognized, 
as was his predecessors, as " the father " of all the 

22 Russian Folk-Life 

Russians, and is loved and honoured and obeyed 
by his subjects, not only as head of the State, but 
also as head of the Church. When a new law is 
proclaimed in Russia, the people may be heard 
repeating the old saying, *• It is the will of God 
and the Tsar's decree". 

This great nation has always had its supreme 
dictator, and it owes its growth and prosperity 
largely to those Tsars who, like Peter the Great, 
devoted their lives to furthering its welfare. In 
no other country in Europe, for instance, has a 
large and important city been created by the 
order of an individual ruler as was Petrograd by 
the order of Tsar Peter. At the outbreak of the 
great war the present Tsar gave a further example 
of the supreme power that is wielded by the head 
of the Russian state when he forbade the sale of 
vodka throughout the empire. The people sub- 
mitted at once to " the will of God and the Tsar's 
decree ". 

In attempting to understand the social problems 
of Russia, one must always bear in mind the char- 
acter of the country, and the mode of life of the 
great masses of the people. Land being abundant, 
the Slavs in ancient times spread gradually over 
wide areas with their herds and flocks. They 
tilled their fields in a primitive manner, and when 
these became exhausted, they migrated into new 
territory to break in further virgin soil. The 
general direction of such migrations has been to- 
wards the east, and in the process of time the 

Introduction 23 

Russians have spread themselves in colonies into 
and over the plains of Siberia in Asia. 

The expansion of the vigorous Russian race 
across Siberia began in the reign of Ivan the 
Terrible, when the western portion was conquered 
by Yermak the Cossack. A constant drift of set- 
tlers across the Ural mountains folio wed» but the 
greater part of this region, which is four times 
larger than European Russia, has been peopled 
by refugees and political exiles. In the old days 
when the proprietors held the power of life and 
death over the serfs, they were wont to banish 
offenders to a Siberian province. There the serfs 
were allowed to possess themselves of land, but 
had to remain in the district to which they were 
assigned. The Government similarly banished 
political prisoners, with their wives and families, 
to the Siberian prairies, and many of the inhabi- 
tants of to-day are descendants of these. Har- 
dened convicts, however, have ever been kept 
under control in the great prisons of this vast 
penal colony. 

The conditions of life in Siberia vary greatly. 
In many parts there is a rich soil which yields 
excellent crops, and large tracts are suitable for 
grazing, but towards the north the country is 
cold and desolate, able to sustain only a meagre 
population who live as hunters, fur traders, and 
fishermen. Over the greater part of Siberia the 
summer is warm and genial, but the winter is 
long and severe. Since the opening of the great 

24 Russian Folk-Life 

railway which terminates at Vladivostock, a port 
on the Sea of Japan, the development of Siberian 
trade has made great progress. Large quantities 
of agricultural produce are exported annually. Of 
late years Siberian dairy produce has reached 
even these islands. 

During the period of Tartar supremacy, the 
country had been divided up into principalities, 
and the peasants moved from one principality to 
another as they desired when opportunity offered. 
After the Tsars had freed Russia from the for- 
eigners^ and all the principalities were united, 
the nomadic habits of the people had to be held 
in check. It was decreed that each estate should 
maintain a certain proportion of peasants, so that 
their owners might supply soldiers for the army. 
The peasants were then prevented from moving 
from place to place at their own free will, though 
they still retained all their other ancient rights 
and liberties. 

In time, however, the proprietors increased their 
hold over the peasants, who gradually became 
serfs. The wealth of a proprietor came to be 
reckoned by the number of these serfe on his 
estate, and the custom arose of proprietors selling 
serfs to one another. 

The system of serfage was not confined to 
Russia. It was, in fact, general throughout 
Western Europe, but it lingered longer in Russia 
than elsewhere. 

Under good proprietors the rural serfs could 

Introduction 25 

lead happy and useful lives. A family had a 
house and a portion of land, a horse and cow 
and some sheep. Instead of paying rent, the serf 
performed a certain amount of work for the pro- 
prietpr. When his sons grew up, they took his 
place, and he could then devote his whole time to 
his own affairs. If he required timber he received 
it from the proprietor, and if he met with mis- 
fortune by losing a cow or horse on account of 
illness or accident, he usually received assistance 
from the " father " of the estate, who, as judge, 
also settled all disputes between serfs, and made 
laws to suit local conditions. The old and frail 
and the weakly were supported by the estate if 
their relatives were unable to assist them. When, 
as it sometimes happened, proprietors were cruel 
and greedy, and became oppressors of the people, 
the government of the Tsar stepped in and caused 
reforms to be introduced. Occasionally proprietors 
were deposed altogether for abusing their powers. 
The development of commerce and the industries 
which resulted from the reforms introduced by 
Peter the Great exercised a great influence on the 
serf condition. As the demand for free labour 
increased, it became necessary to draw more and 
more from the masses of the population in rural 
areas. The emancipation of the serfs consequently 
became a pressing necessity. Tsar Alexander I, 
who reigned from 1801 till 1825, and Tsar Nicho- 
las I, who succeeded him and reigned till 1855, 
introduced reforms which improved their condition 

26 Russian Folk-Life 

and extended their privileges. Then Tsar Alex- 
ander II abolished serfdom entirely in 1861. The 
masses were thus set free at the command of the 
" Little Father " of all the Russians, and there 
was great rejoicing in consequence throughout the 
length and breadth of the land. With personal 
liberty, however, came new responsibilities, and 
these were not welcomed everywhere. The land- 
holding serfs were established as tenants of small 
farms, who paid rent for the land they occupied, 
instead of, as formerly, paying for it with labour; 
or, they purchased their holdings with the assistance 
of the State, which lent the money required on 
easy terms. In bringing about these changes, 
the great bulk of the proprietors did their utmost 
to smooth over difficulties, and the freed serfs, when 
they came to realize their new responsibilities, 
displayed a spirit of patience and resolution which 
is characteristically Russian. Over the country as 
a whole a widespread desire was evinced by all 
classes to solve the problems raised by the changed 
conditions of life which were brought about by the 
Tsar's great reform. 

The story entitled "The Old Order and the 
New " deals with the liberation of the serfs on a 
typical Russian estate. Some of the workers 
dreaded the change brought about by the Tsar s 
edict as much as did the old-fashioned proprietor, 
while others had an exaggerated notion of what 
freedom signified. 

It will be seen from the examples griven that 

Introduction 27 

great and sweeping social and political changes 
in Russia have been brought about chiefly by its 
rulers. The nation is, as has been said, like a great 
family; and the Tsar, who is the *' Little Father", 
calls the people **his children". All classes rever- 
ence and obey the supreme ruler, who is the law- 
giver and the judge. If they have grievances, 
they expect the " Little Father" to remove them; 
if social reforms become necessary owing to the 
changed conditions of life, they expect him to 
bring them about 

In Russia reforms have never been introduced 
as a result of what is known in the west as ** class 
warfare ". The classes who owe allegiance to the 
Tsar have never struggled against each other for 
political rights or privileges. Class enmities are 
almost entirely unknown, and the relations be- 
tween the various classes are more intimate than 
in any other nation in Europe, except Great 
Britain. The aristocratic exclusiveness of the 
German and Austrian nobility does not prevail in 
the Tsar's domains, which enjoy a marked degree 
of social freedom. The proprietor does not hold 
himself alo6f from the peasant; in fact, some 
rural proprietors live quite as simple lives as their 
tenants. Many peasants who have shown marked 
ability have risen to high official rank, and grown 
richer and more influential than the representatives 
of old families. In no country in Europe are the 
grievances of the past more readily forgotten. 
The feeling that union is strength prevails every- 

28 Russian Folk-Life 

where. That great level country could never 
withstand the attacks of its enemies if the people 
were not united by their love for their country, 
and their allegiance to the ** Little Father ", who 
loves and leads them alL 


Leo Lermontov was scarcely twenty, but looked 
older. He stood over six feet in height, and had 
broad shoulders and great muscles. His face was 
tinged with the sadness that sometimes survives 
from early hardships. Two deep lines crossed his 
forehead, and his eyebrows sloped sideways over 
his deep grey eyes, which one of his friends com- 
pared to "watch-dogs peering from their kennels". 
He was a ship carpenter by trade, and not only 
skilled and conscientious, but of exceedingly regu- 
lar habits. His employer regarded him as an 
exemplary workman. He never took strong 
liquors, remembering with bitterness that his 
father, who had been a schoolmaster, became a 
beggar through vodka drinking, and had gone to 
an early grave. At the end of each week he 
deposited a sum of money in a savings bank with 
unfailing regularity. Because he always shaved 
clean he was nicknamed **the Englishman" by 
his fellow-workmen. 

**Why don't you allow your beard to grow?" 
he was asked one day. "Are you ashamed of 
being a man?" 

30 Russian Folk-Life 

"A clean face is honourable; even a goat 
has a beard/' Leo answered, quoting an old 

Since his mother's death the young man had 
lodged with Simon Glinka, the hardware mer- 
chant, in a three -storied house on the outskirts 
of Petrograd. This Glinka was a widower, and 
had two sons, who presented a sharp contrast one 
to another. Maksim, the eldest, was a lawyer's 
clerk. He had a crafty face, with shifty grey 
eyes speckled with white, a tilted nose with wide 
nostrils, and a mouth that wore a sneer even when 
he smiled; he kept his dark-brown moustache 
closely cropped, and inclined to dress showily. 
His younger brother, Nikolay, had been a student 
until his health broke down. He was a slim, con- 
sumptive lad of eighteen, with yellow curly hair, 
soft blue eyes, a thin long nose, and a sensitive 
mouth like a girl's. His father adored him, be- 
cause he was the image of his dead mother, and 
loved to satisfy his every whim. Nikolay 's am- 
bition was to be a great poet like the immortal 
Pushkin, the Byron of Russian literature. He 
was an impulsive lad of many moods. Some- 
times he was fretful and depressed for days on 
end and spoke little, and sometimes he was 
boisterous and cheerful, and darted about the 
house, insisting on helping old Ulinka, the house- 
keeper, who was very stout, asthmatic, and half- 
deaf. When Nikolay's shrill laugh rang from 
the kitghen, his father's face always brighten^cj 

The Test of War 31 

and his step seemed lighter as he entered the 
little living-room of an evening. Leo, who ad- 
mired the lad because he had great learning, was 
also affected by his moods. 

It was otherwise with Maksim. He jeered at 
his brother, whether he was sad or merry. ** You 
are a bookworm," he declared one evening. "You 
feed on idle fancies, and live in a world of imps 
and ghosts. One day you sulk like a child over 
a broken toy because some heroine of romance 
is in trouble; another day you trip about like a 
dancing girl because she has been rescued by a 
gallant knight No wonder you make yourself 
ill. You should live like me in a real world, and 
meet real people and see real things happening. 
Poets and novelists write chiefly for women. 
Busy men of the world have little need for them. 
No man ever made money by following the teach- 
ings of these miserable bookmakers." 

**What about our ideals?" Nikolay protested. 
** Is the purpose of life merely to make money .'^" 

** Partly that," sneered Maksim, "and partly to 
spend it." 

** Men who write books often make great for- 
tunes," Leo remarked. "Some day Nikolay 
may write so well that he will grow rich." 

Maksim laughed dryly. " He's not like you, 
Leo; he despises money -making. He would 
rather be famous than wealthy." 

"Yes, much rather," Nikolay agreed promptly. 

"Why not be both?" sipped L?p. ''Yo\j 4«- 

32 Russian Folk-Life 

serve to be well paid for your work. Every day 
you write a great deal, and I think your poetry 
is quite as good as Pushkin's." 

** Good or bad, it's not worth a kopeck in the 
market," Maksim sneered. ** He wastes his time 
all to no purpose." 

Nikolay's face quivered. Tears stood in his 
eyes, and without attempting to answer his 
brother he left the room abruptly. 

" How unsympathetic you are!" exclaimed Leo^ 
turning a hard face on the law clerk. ''What 
pleasure does it give you to hurt your brother s 
feelings so?" 

" Don't get angry, Leo," Maksim said mock- 
ingly. **This is not a matter to fight about." 

** I am not thinking about fighting." 

** You always look as if you were. . . . Let us 
have something to eat. Good food puts one in 
a good temper." 

Maksim had a ^reat contempt for Leo, because 
he was poorly educated and possessed money 
which he refused to spend. 

'*Why do you hoard up your savings like a 
miser?" he once asked the ship carpenter. 
" Money was made to be spent." 

**Yes," Leo answered slowly; '*but it can be 
spent wisely." 

**What do you know about spending?" jeered 
the clerk. ** You have no experience in that art. 
If you could only realize the pleasure that is got 
pyt gf life by tossing coins about, you would 

The Test of War 33 

wonder at yourself. I could spend more than 
I manage to earn." 

" That's nothing to boast about. Any fool can 
spend. It takes a wise man to save." 

** Some day I shall have luck. I almost made 
a fortune at betting last week." 

"But you didn't; you lost everything." 

"Well, one must take risks. Some day my 
chance will come. When I meet with good luck 
I shall become rich at a bound." 

Leo rubbed his chin with the palm of his right 
hand. ** I never forget the old proverb," he re- 
marked quiedy, "which says, 'Good luck vanishes 
like our curls; bad luck lasts like our finger-nails'." 

"You certainly never forget these old wives' 
proverbs," exclaimed the clerk impatiendy. 
"What's the good of them? They were invented 
by ignorant people of another age. No wonder 
you lead such a miserable existence, always toil- 
ing away and never enjoying life." 

" Black may be toil, but white is its price," 
answered Leo, with a faint smile, quoting another 
favourite saying. 

While they were arguing in this manner Simon 

Glinka, the hardware merchant, opened the door 

sofdy. He stood for a few seconds, framed in 

the doorway, gazing pensively at the young men 

over his spectacles, a newspaper dangling from 

his right hand. Although of medium height, he 

looked smaller because he inclined to stoutness, 

and his shoulders had grown so round that his 
(0821) 3 

34 Russian Folk-Life 

head seemed to be thrust too far forward; his 
brown beard was turning white at the sides, 
and his face was covered with numerous small 
wrinkles that ran this way and that like creases 
in crushed clothing; his bushy eyebrows cast a 
shadow over his pondering grey eyes. 

** Here's an end to all argument meantime," he 
said at length in a low, tremulous voice, as he 
walked into the centre of the room, raising the 
newspaper before his face. ** We are on the very 
brink of war. Only a miracle can avert it now." 

** If the Tsar shows a stem front," Maksim 
declared, ** Germany will sheathe the sword." 

** Germany seems rather to be only too eager 
to fight," sighed his father. "What a terrible 
war it will be, too! Almost every nation will be 
forced to take one side or another. Thousands 
and thousands will be killed and thousands will 
be ruined." 

" Give me the paper," Maksim said impatiently. 
"You always look on the dark side of things. 
Let me see. ..." 

He glanced down a column, and suddenly his 
face grew very pale. 

"So," he muttered, "the prospect is black in- 
deed, ril be called up with the second-class 
reserves, of course. Just my luck. You, Leo, 
will be called up also." 

Leo nodded his head gravely. "War is a 
brutal thing," he said sofdy; "but we must obey 
the will of God and the Tsar's decree." 

The Test of War 35 

" The poor will suffer terribly," moaned Glinka, 
''and those who sell to the poor, as I do, must 
suffer also." 

** He who sweats in the field and prays to God 
at home will never starve," Leo said, repeating 
an old saying. 

Maksim threw down the paper. " I must get 
out-of-doors," he declared, "and hear what people 
are saying of this." 

"Do not be late to-night," urged his father; 
"we shall be anxious to learn. any fresh news." 

Maksim hurried through the streets towards 
the centre of the city, his mind greatly agitated. 
Knots of people were gathered at every comer 
discussing the prospects of war. Wild rumours 
were already on foot "The Germans have 
crossed the frontier and are marching on War- 
saw," some declared. 

"The holy Russian land is large," Maksim 
overheard one man exclaim; "God has chosen a 
portion of it to be the graveyard of our enemies." 

Many seemed eager to fight, and expressed 
fears lest the Tsar should yield to blustering Ger- 
many at the last moment But Maksim dreaded 
war. He thought of the pleasures he would have 
to give up and the hardships that confronted 
him. Indeed, all his thoughts were concentrated 
in himself What cared he for Russia or the 
public good? If he had money at his disposal, 
he told himself, he would leave Petrograd that 
evening and escape to a foreign country. And 

36 Russian Folk-Life 

he thought it his misfortune to be possessed of 
hardly a rouble. If he found no comfort in the 
crowded streets, he found less at the clubs he was 
in the habit of frequenting. Everyone seemed 
convinced that war was inevitable. Before he 
returned homeward he heard that mobilization 
had already begun. 

At a street comer he met Michael Poroshin, 
a sharp-faced little man who was employed in a 
savings bank. 

" You are going home early to-night, Michael," 
he said. 

** And so are you, Maksim," retorted his friend. 
" And no wonder. Everything is upset with this 
clamour about war. I have just come from the 
office and feel tired. We have been very busy 
this evening." 

"You surprise me, Michael. I should have 
thought people would forget about hoarding money 
at such a time." 

'* They are not hoarding it, but drawing it. 
Such a crowd we had in front of the counters. 
Some wanted to withdraw every kopeck they pos- 

" Ah," exclaimed Maksim, ** would I had a few 
roubles to my credit! But I ani poorer than 

Michael laughed dryly. "You should take a 
lesson from Leo," he said, "he's an example to 
all of us." 

Maksim halted, laying his hand on his friend's 

The Test of War 37 

shoulder. *' Have you seen Leo this evening?" 
he whispered. 

Michael nodded with a sly smile. **I am not 
supposed to answer such questions, of course." 

** Did he draw much — a hundred roubles, say?" 

** Much more," muttered the other with a shrug. 

"Two hundred — three hundred?" 

Michael glanced round about apprehensively. 
Then he whispered slowly, *' Five hundred roubles 
— not a kopeck less. What he wants to do with 
all that money I can't even guess." 

" Five hundred roubles — five hundred roubles!" 
Maksim repeated hoarsely, staring blankly in his 
friend's face. 

They resumed their walk in silence, conversing 
in low tones. 

" I wonder what he intends doing," Michael 

" Perhaps he's going abroad to escape mobili- 

"If that were his intention he would have 
drawn more," the bank clerk said. 

" Has he really so much saved?" Maksim asked 

"I'm not sure of the exact sum," answered 
Michael cautiously, "but I know he has not 
drawn everything — not nearly all he possesses. 
So he can't be going away." 

The conversation then turned to the prospects 
of war, and after a time the friends separated. 

Maksim did not go home at once. He walked 

38 Russian Folk-Life 

down a side street towards an open space to 
think matters over. He wanted money, and was 
tempted by Leo's hoard. So he resolved, if the 
opportunity offered, to steal it and depart speedily 
to a foreign country. Little did he care what 
would be thought about him once he got clear 
of Russia. Like all cowards he was extremely 
selfish and thought of himself alone. What cared 
he what became of others? 

Now when Leo returned from the bank he 
went straight to his little attic and placed his 
money in his clothes-box, turning the key in the 
lock. Then he hastened downstairs to chat with 
Nikolay, who had been out walking by the river- 
side, all alone, as was his wont. He found the 
lad crouched up in the window-place, reading his 
favourite Pushkin — the master poet of his native 

"How can you sit reading poetry at such a 
time, Nikolay?" Leo asked with a smile. 

The dreamy lad looked up with bright eyes. 
**Ah!" he exclaimed with rapture, "Aleksandr 
Sergfyeevich Pushkin voices every mood of the 
people whether in time of war or peace. Listen 
to this : 

Rise, one and all, O rise ! 
Russia's heroes with fearless eyes, 
In countless numbers like the ocean's waves. 
In battle frenzy 'gainst the foemen sweep; 
Room will be found on Russia's plains to sleep, 
And none will e'er forget their brethren's graves. 

The Test of War 39 

*' Yes, many must fall asleep ere victory will be 
won," Leo said softly. 

"It troubles me," Nikolay sighed, "that I 
cannot go to battle. It is glorious to be a victor: 
it is glorious to die a hero's death, fighting for 
one's native land. If war breaks out, I. must sit 
here and dream while others lay down their lives. 
What a poor creature I am, Leo!" 

" You will play your part too, Nikolay. You 
shall sing songs about Russia's heroes so that 
generations unborn may be moved to imitate 
them as we try to imitate our forefathers." 

" Ah! I know what you are thinking about 
now, Leo. You remember Zhukovski's 'Minstrel 
in the Russian Camp' which I read to you the 
other evening?" 

"Read it again, Nikolay. I'll understand it 
better now," urged the carpenter. 

The lad leapt to his feet and began to pace the 
room with a book in his left hind. wWch he 
glanced at only occasionally, and half-recited, half- 
chanted, the stirring poem : 

Now to the warriors of old time, 

The strong in fight and glory! 
These warriors and their deeds sublime 

Are lost in distant story! 
The grave hath gathered up their dust, 

Their homes— the storm hath razed them; 
Their helmets are devoured by rust, 

And silent those that praised them : 
But in their children live their fires. 

We tread the land that bore them, 

40 Russian Folk-Life 

And see the shadows of their sires 
With all their triumphs o'er them. 

Verse after verse rolled off his tongue with 
relish. Leo sat fascinated, looking and listen- 
ing. He never could understand poetry except 
when it came from Nikolay's lips. Then it stirred 
him strangely. 

'* Read on," he urged the lad when he had 
finished the poem and sank into a comer. '' But 
do not read more about war. Let us forget 
all about war to-night. I would rather hear a 
tale from Pushkin. I like to hear you read the 
' Fountain ' poem." 

Nikolay lit the lamp. He was in the mood 
that evening to recite great verse. The war 
excitement had roused his imagination. So he 
opened a thick volume and began to roll off the 
full-throated measures of the master poet in a 
voice that rose and fell like the night wind in 
a forest. Sometimes he sprawled in a chair; 
sometimes he paced the room, declaiming like an 
actor on the stage. 

Maksim entered the house noiselessly as his 
brother thus engaged himself, after peering 
through a rent in the window-blind. He knew 
Nikolay would continue reading for some time 
longer, and was certain that Leo, who liked to 
humour the young poet, must sooner or later fall 
asleep. He had often found the carpenter snooz- 
ing peacefully while the young poet read to him. 

The Test of War 4t 

"Now IS my opportunity," Maksim told himself 
in the depths of his wicked heart, thinking of 
Leo's roubles. He glanced towards the kitchen 
to ascertain if Ulinka was still at work. It 
pleased him mightily that the old woman dozed 
in a chair, breathing heavily. He knew his father 
would not return for another hour. 

Removing his boots, he crept upstairs towards 
Leo's attic, as noiselessly as a cat stalking a 
mouse. He knew the exact place where the 
clothes-box lay and went towards it. Grasping 
the lid, he found it locked. Then he ran his 
fingers towards the keyhole until he touched a 
bunch of keys, which jingled slightly; in another 
second he had opened the box and begun to 
search it, without seeing aught, like a blind man. 
His hand closed on a bag of gold ; he thrust it 
into his pocket; then he found another and an- 
other. His heart was beating loud and fast with 

Closing down the lid of the box, he turned the 
key in the lock; the sharp, metallic click seemed 
to resound through the house. He tiptoed to 
the stairhead and there stood trembling and listen- 
ing in the growing dusk. None of the inmates 
had been disturbed. Nikolay's voice continued 
its droning sound in the little sitting-room below, 
like a monk at his prayers. A clock ticked loudly 
in the kitchen where old Ulinka snored wheezily 
in her sleep. . . . Maksim began to descend 
slowly, step by step, fearing to be discovered 

4^ Russian Folk-Life 

every moment. Once a board creaked beneath 
him and he shuddered convulsively, a cold sweat 
breaking out on his forehead; his heart knocked 
loudly against his ribs as if his conscience sought 
to give the alarm. He paused on the first land- 
ing. . . . Nikolay's voice had struck a higher note 
and he declaimed more rapidly. 

" Curse him! he will wake Leo," Maksim 
muttered inwardly. In desperation the clerk 
forced himself onward and downward until at 
length he reached the front door. He let himself 
out softly and ran down the street, nor did he 
pause to put on his boots until he had turned 
a comer. Not a living soul was in sight He 
had entered and left the house unobserved, and 
now possessed a goodly sum of money. 

Choosing a roundabout way to avoid meeting 
his father he sped towards the centre of the city. 
" I shall never return home again," he told him- 
self But the thought gave him no pleasure. 
Instead, it filled his heart with despair. An icy 
blankness seemed to have suddenly enveloped his 

" You will be caught and sent to prison," his 
conscience whispered. You have robbed a friend 
and dishonoured your father's house. Your crime 
will break the old man's heart You are now a 
criminal and an outcast." 

Tortured by his thoughts, he entered a low 
vodka shop and thrust himself through a noisy 
crowd towards the counter. He thought vodka 

The Test of War 43 

would give him the courage of which he was in 
sore need. 

In less than an hour later his father reached 
home. Nikolay had ceased reading and sat con- 
versing with his friend about the war once again. 

" I shall miss you very much, Leo, if you are 
called up to serve," the young poet declared. 

'* I shall certainly be called up," answered the 
other slowly and deliberately. " Perhaps I may 
never return, who knows? Many must die. The 
destined sheep cannot escape the wolf." 

Glinka entered as he was speaking and sat 
down with a sigh. 

" Have you heard any further news?" Leo 
asked him. 

"There are many rumours," said Glinka. 
" One hardly knows what to believe and what not 
to believe. But it seems certain that war is not 
far off. . . . Where is Maksim?" 

"He has not yet returned," Nikolay answered. 

" Let us have supper," said the merchant 
wearily. " Go and rouse up Ulinka, my son." 

Nikolay sprang to his feet. " I shall make the 
coffee myself It is time poor old Ulinka was in 
bed." He left the room, closing the door behind 

Leo drew his chair towards Glinka, and raising 
his face began to speak. "We may not have 
many more evenings together. Wide is the gate 
leading to the battlefield, but narrow is the way 
out of it Who knows whether one will return 

44 Russian Folk-Life 

again after bidding farewell. Listen to me. I 
have something to tell you, Simon Glinka. To- 
night I drew the bulk of my savings from the 
bank, and they are in my box upstairs. I wish to 
do something for Nikolay. He is not so robust 
as the rest of us, and if war brings suffering he 
may be in sore straits. Last winter he seemed 
almost unable to endure the cold weather. With 
this money — there are five hundred roubles in all 
— ^he can be sent to the south, or to some foreign 
country where the winter is mild and open." 

Glinka was struck dumb with heartfelt grati- 
tude. Tears welled to his eyes. He hung his 

*' If five hundred roubles are not enough I can 
give another hundred — ^all I possess." He rose 
up and crossed the room. ** To-morrow we can 
make arrangements. The doctor will give us 
good advice. . . . You will allow me to do this 
for Nikolay, won't you, Simon Glinka? For his 
sake you dare not refuse." 

" God will bless you, Leo. He will reward you. 
Your heart has ears," the old man said at length, 
his voice trembling with emotion. The thought 
of the coming winter had kept him in constant 
dread. He feared Nikolay would never survive 
another illness. 

"Do not say a word to the lad about this," 
Leo went on. "Wait until I have gone. Just 
say I helped a little. He is so proud: he might 
refuse my money." 

The Test of War 45 

"I will pay you back some day, Leo Ler- 
montov," muttered Glinka faintly. " I would fain 
decline your offer, but cannot for Nikolay's sake. 
May God reward you with his protection on the 

"Hush! Nikolay is coming," Leo whispered. 
** Say no more about this matter meantime." 

The young lad entered carrying the coffee-pot, 
which he laid on the table. '* I thought I would 
never wake up Ulinka," he exclaimed laughingly, 
** When at length she opened her eyes she thought 
it was morning, and asked: 'Why have you 
risen so early? The sun is not yet up. Has the 
war begun so suddenly?'" 

After supper Leo and Nikolay rose to go to 
bed, but the merchant lit his pipe and said he 
would wait for Maksim. " I have something to 
say to him," he told the others. 

A friend had told the merchant that his eldest 
son had been overheard declaring in a vodka shop 
he would rather flee from Russia than fight for 
the Tsar. This troubled Simon Glinka greatly. 
He dreaded such wild words might bring disgrace 
and perhaps ruin to him at a time when all good 
Russians had need to stand shoulder to shoulder 
like true brothers. Besides, he regarded with 
apprehension his son's growing habit of frequent- 
ing vodka shops, and intended to admonish him 
severely on that account. 

His heart was heavy as he sat there pondering 
over his sons. The one was wayward, and grow- 

46 Russian Folk-Life 

ing dissolute; the other, so dear to his heart, 
seemed to be slipping away from him. 

Suddenly he heard a noise on the stairs. In 
another minute Leo entered the roonL His face 
was pale and hard. He closed the door, and 
advancing towards the old man said, in a low 
hoarse voice: 

" Maksim has been here and is gone.'* 

Glinka rose to his feet " What do you mean, 
Leo?" he gasped. 

'* The five hundred roubles I drew for Nikolay 
have been taken from my box," Leo answered. 
" I found Maksim's handkerchief lying on the 
attic floor." 

As he spoke he threw a scented handkerchief 
on the table. 

Glinka swayed like a man suddenly wounded 
in battle, and would have fallen had not Leo 
grasped him in his strong arms. 

Maksim found it impossible to leave Petrograd 
by train. The ordinary railway traffic had been 
suspended to permit the free and rapid movement 
of troops. For three days and nights he con- 
cealed himself in a gambling den and there lost 
three hundred roubles at cards. Then he bribed 
the skipper of a trading schooner to be allowed 
to travel as a stowaway to Stockholm, with two of 
his evil companions. But ere the vessel had left 
the Gulf of Finland it was held up by one of the 
Tsar's cruisers. An officer with half a dozen men 
came on board, and the skipper was informed 

The Test of War 47 

that war had been declared A search was made 
for stowaways of military age, and Maksim and 
his companions were discovered and arrested 
The schooner was then allowed to proceed. 

In due course Maksim appeared before a court 
martial, which inflicted a punishment He was 
afterwards sent southward with a draft to join his 

Several months went past, and Maksim took 
part in much hard fighting. The discipline of 
service and the perils and sufferings of warfare 
wrought a wondrous change in him. Indeed, he 
became a new man, and fought so bravely and 
well that he was twice promoted. The thought 
of his crime, however, ever remained a constant 
source of pain to him. He prayed fervently for 
forgiveness, and vowed that when war was over 
he would do his utmost to repay to Leo the money 
he had stolen. 

Winter came on, and still the fighting waxed 
fiercely as ever. Would it never come to an end 
so that he might begin a new life at home and 
secure his father's forgiveness and blessing? 

He was wounded while fighting in Poland, and 
after recovering in hospital, received orders to 
join a new regiment which had been sent to 
operate in Galicia. 

Thus it came about that he took part in the 
campaign against the Austrian forces on the 
eastern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains. 

48 Russian Folk-Life 

Russia was once again knocking at the ** doors" 
of Hungary. 

In the Dukla Pass the Tsar's brave soldiers 
made fearless and persistent attacks through the 
snow against the enemy, who occupied trenches 
on steep inclines, which were protected by con- 
fused and snow-concealed mazes of barbed wire. 

Desperate deeds of valour were performed in 
that desolate region. Many Austrian positions, 
deemed impregnable by the defenders, were 
assaulted and won. And although the sacrifice 
of human lives was heavy, the Russian soldiers 
were not a whit dismayed. Companies followed 
companies of brave men up the snowy slopes and 
were mowed down by machine-gun and rifle fire. 
But they were followed by others until the defence 
was overwhelmed step by step and from height 
to height. Never before had such battles been 
fought in the world as were waged on those 
wintry hill-sides. The white wastes of snow were 
broken and torn by unwearied feet and stained 
with human blood. 

One evening Maksim advanced with a force up 
a slippery gully towards a strongly-held Austrian 
trench. Bullets swept downwards like great hail- 
stones, and brave men fell constantly and silently 
iti the snow. At length only a remnant remained, 
and all the officers had been killed or wounded. 
The wearied survivors crept and huddled under 
the shelter of an overhanging rock like sheep 
seeking shelter from a snowstorm. They seemed 

« • * 

4 . » • 

« -* • • • 

", >' 

The Test of War 49 

resolved to wait until darkness came so as to 
effect a safe retreat. 

Then Maksim assumed command. He rallied 
the men with brave words and urged them to 
follow him and press onwards, so that they might 
complete the task they had begun. They were 
glad to follow him. It was better to die fighting 
than to die in retreat So with high hearts and 
renewed vigour they attacked and pressed home 
until the position was won. The thin line of des- 
perate men had broken through the entanglements 
and carried the last trench that lay before them. 
Maksim fell wounded in his hour of triumph, and 
rolling down a steep incline, lay half-buried in the 
snow behind a great boulder. Consciousness 
immediately deserted him. 

Reinforcements had been rushed forward, and 
ere long they were resisting a fierce counter- 
attack higher up the hill-side. The wounded lay 
moaning and bleeding on the snowy slopes. 

How long Maksim remained unconscious he 
could never tell. When he awoke he felt himself 
being lifted and carried away, while he endured 
terrible agony from a wound in his right thigh. 
Darkness came on as he was borne down the hill- 
side, and he again lapsed into unconsciousness. 

When he next opened his eyes he was lying on 
a stretcher in a dimly-lighted wooden house, sur- 
rounded by many other wounded soldiers. His 
thigh had been placed in splinters and tightly 
bandaged. Someone was bending over him and 

50 Russian Folk-Life 

holding a flask to his lips. He drank and felt 
refreshed. Then he looked in the face of the 
man and whispered, " Leo." 

It was indeed Leo Lermontov, who had found 
him lying in the snow and had carried him on his 
shoulders to a place of safety. 

'* Leo, Leo," he muttered huskily, " I have need 
of your forgiveness. I stole your roubles and ran 
away, and now you have saved my life." 

"They were not my roubles," answered Leo 
slowly; " I gave them to Nikolay, and you cannot 
ask his forgiveness now, because he is dead." 

Maksim wept, and Leo went out into the dark- 


On the balcony of a Moscow hospital sat a 
group of convalescent soldiers, who had been 
wounded during the investment of Przemysl/ 
chatting and smoking in the warm sunshine. 
Their dialects varied as much as their physical 
characteristics for they hailed from various parts 
of the Tsar s domains. Some were typical Slav 
peasants, whose native villages lay scattered among 
the marshes and forests of White Russia — broad- 
shouldered men with dark flaxen hair and auburn 
beards, deeply lined foreheads, and meditative 
eyes set in cobwebs of wrinkles; others were of 
the fairer and larger-limbed northern type from 
the Baltic provinces — Lithuanians and Livonians 
and Finns, while not a few were dark -haired, 
brown-eyed, swarthy men from the fertile river 
valleys of Little Russia. All except one, a 
student who had volunteered for active service 
on the outbreak of war, were strangers to Mos- 
cow, and regarded with deep interest its busy 
streets, roaring factories, and great buildings. 

"In ancient days, before Petrograd was built 

* Pronounced Pih^m'isl 

52 Russian Folk-Life 

by Peter the Great," the student said, ** this city 
was the capital of all Russia. Yonder are the 
royal palaces." He pointed towards the Kremlin, 
the ancient citadel which juts out like a spear- 
head in the centre of the city between the Moskwa 
river and its tributary the Neglin, and is protected 
by thick stone walls. 

" Before the days of big cannon," he added, 
"the Kremlin was impregnable." The soldiers 
gazed in silence on the picturesque eminence, with 
its congested mass of ponderous cathedrals and 
palaces, its sublime domes and tapering spires. 

" At which building," one of them asked, ** is 
the Tsar Kolokol (the 'King of bells')?" 

The student pointed towards the lofty tower 
of Ivan Veliki, tipped with a bright gilded dome. 
"At that one yonder," he smiled. "We must 
visit it ere we return to the front." 

"Often have I heard of it," a Livonian re- 
marked. " They say its equal is not to be found 
in the wide world." 

"That is true enough," agreed the student 
" I myself have once seen it. Round the rim it 
measures sixty feet, and its height is that of four 
men perched one above another." 

" Had our fathers been heretics like the Prus- 
sians," a Little Russian chimed in, "they would 
have manufactured the ' King of guns ' instead 
of the * King of bells*. But they were men of 
peace and prayer." He crossed himself reve- 

The Lady of Moscow 53 

" One shell from Tsar Kolokol, were it a gun, 
would shatter the whole Austrian army," stam- 
mered a fair Livonian. 

"And what a distance it would travel!" laughed 
another. ** Perhaps it would reach Przemysl, 
while the sound of it might be heard in Vienna." 

"The sound of Tsar Kolokol reaches farther 
than Vienna," commented the Little Russian, 
"for it ascends to high Heaven." 

"That is true indeed," sighed a deep -eyed 
peasant beside him. " Heaven is far off, but 
God is near." 

"It took long centuries," the student went on, 
" to erect all these buildings on the Kremlin. Parts 
of the wall are nearly five hundred years old." 

"Your knowledge is wonderful," remarked a 
red -bearded peasant. " But it makes my head 
ache. I would much prefer to hear your stories, 
those you heard from your grandsire on winter 
nights. Have you no more to tell?" 

The student laughed. "There is a story 
attached to every building on the Kremlin," he 
answered, "but the most wonderful one I know 
relates how Moscow became a city." 

"That must be a very old tale, my friend," 
declared a wrinkled peasant, drawing his chair 
closer to the student 

"What does it matter how old it is, if it is a 
good story?" another urged with a smile. 

" It is both old and good," the student said. 
" I heard it in my boyhood from the lips of the 

54 Russian Folk-Life 

wise old woman who nursed me after my mother 

"God rest her soul!" exclaimed the Little 
Russian. *' Let her voice speak from your lips 
once again." 

The student laid down his pipe, and then pro- 
ceeded to relate the story as follows : — 

Once upon a time the only building which 
stood on the Kremlin was a stately castle, in 
which dwelt the Princess Peerless with twelve 
fair maidens who were her attendants. There 
were no streets and no houses where there are 
now so many, because Moscow had not come into 
being. The Kremlin was surrounded by a great 
and pathless forest. 

This Princess Peerless was as beautiful as the 
stately moon of summer, and her voice had the 
sweetness of a bird's song on^ a dewy evening. 
A strange power dwelt in her tender eyes. Those 
she looked upon with favour were stirred by feel- 
ings of deep joy, but those she glanced at in 
wrath were immediately transformed into blocks 
of ice. 

When the Princess grew into young woman- 
hood, and hunters who visited the forest beheld 
her, the fame of her beauty was spread far and 
wide. Then large numbers of people came from 
all parts of Russia to gaze upon her. Even 
princes and noblemen came, and they vied one 
with another to win the heart of that fair lady, 
but she refused them all. 

The Lady of Moscow 55 

Then one bold prince plotted to seize Princess 
Peeriess by force. He came through the forest 
with a strong army. In bright array his soldiers 
marched towards the Kremlin, their banners flying 
and their trumpets blowing, but the Princess 
looked out from a castle window and gazed upon 
them with anger. Suddenly a deep silence fell 
upon the forest, for the whole army was trans- 
formed into blocks of ice. 

After this it came about that the Demon King 
of the Underworld awoke from sleep and went 
forth to look upon all the princes and princesses 
and all the kings and queens that held sway over 
mankind. One night, when the calm moon rode 
high and fair, he looked down upon Princess 
Peerless, who lay fast asleep surrounded by her 
twelve maidens. A smile lingered on her lips; 
rosy were her cheeks, and her forehead gleamed 
like ivory. She was dreaming a beautiful dream, 
and saw coming nigh to her a noble young 
knight, clad in golden armour and horsed on a 
prancing steed. In her heart she loved him 
dearly. His eyes were clear and grey like placid 
sea waters sparkling in sunshine. 

The Demon gazed long at the sleeping Prin- 
cess and fell deeply in love with her. Thereafter 
he transformed himself into comely human shape, 
and appeared on the Kremlin among her wooers. 
It was well that he had no knowledge of her 
dream, else he would have worn golden armour. 
He knelt before the Princess; he vowed he 

56 Russian Folk-Life 

loved her, and besought her to be his bride. 
But, like the others, he was sent away. The 
Princess had taken a silent vow that she would 
wed no other than the unknown golden knight, 
whom she had beheld in her ^resLtn. 

The Demon was angry. He vowed that he 
would carry off Princess Peerless by force, but 
she was given knowledge that he was possessed 
of great power, and prepared to thwart his de- 
sign. She assembled together all the warriors 
on the Kremlin, and they entered into her service 
with glad hearts. They surrounded the castle 
to protect the fair lady; but when the Demon 
came nigh, he blew his poisonous breath towards 
them, and they all fell down in a magic swoon. 
The twelve fair handmaidens were overcome 
also. Indeed, none within the castle, or on the 
Kftemlin and near it, escaped the warriors' fate 
save the Princess alone. She went to a high 
window and looked forth, and when the Demon 
came in sight, she gazed at him angrily, and he 
was immediately transformed into a block of ice. 
Then she sat down and wept 

The Demon, however, was not easily thwarted. 
He wrought a counter spell and resumed his 
wonted form. Then he began to make prepara- 
tions to protect himself against the terrible glances 
of the Princess, and, at the same time, prevent 
her from escaping. He erected a wall of iron 
round the castle, and at the gate he chained a 
fierce dragon with twelve heads, so that none 

The Lady of Moscow 57 

could enter or depart without his knowledge and 
consent. The dragon kept watch constantly. 
One by one its heads fell asleep during the night, 
and one by one they awoke during the day; but 
when the last head closed its eyes, those of the 
first opened wide. It could not, therefore, be 
attacked unawares. The life of the monster was 
in its heads. These must needs be all cut off 
ere it could be killed 

The Demon smiled, well content He knew 
that the glance of the Princess could not pene- 
trate iron, and that no human being was able to 
overcome the dragon in combat. In his evil heart 
he decided to keep the Princess confined in soli- 
tude, within the castle, until she consented to be 
his bride. Every day he called to her, saying: 
" Promise you will be mine, and I will set you 
free. Marry me and become Queen of the U nder- 
world." But the Princess Peerless refused to 
answer. She sat at the high window and wept 
while he spoke, and then turned away to wander 
through the lone and silent castle in which all her 
maidens lay in dreamless magic sleep. 

The days went past and the weeks, until three 
months were fulfilled. No joy ever entered her 
heart, except when she thought of the fair hero 
who had appeared before her in her dream, 
clad in golden armour and horsed on a pranc- 
ing steed. 

One day, as she sat gazing at the sky, a white 
cloud went flitting past She took up her harp 

58 Russian Folk-Life 

and, playing a sweet melody, sang out of her lonely 

O flying cloud in the blue above, 
As white and bright as the woodland dove — 
Now tarry and hear, now tarry and hear; 
O hast thou seen the knight I love? 
O where is he, 

My love most dear? 
Doth he think of me? 
Will he e'er come near? 
O flying cloud in the blue above, 
As white and bright as the woodland dove. 

The cloud heard and made answer, singing: 

O voice I hear. 
So sweet and clear, 

Mine eyes are blind — 

O ask the wind 
That searcheth ever far and near, 
Beautiful voice I hear. 

The Princess was disconsolate. But while she 
sat musing alone, a gentle wind fluttered round a 
fair company of white snowdrops that had sprung 
into life. Then she sang to wind : 

wind so happy, wind so free, 
Alone am I; O pity me, 

1 sorrow in captivity. 

Now tarry and hear, now tarry and hear. 
O hast thou seen my love most dear? 
Doth he think of me? Will he e'er come near? 

O wind so happy, wind so free. 

Alone am I; O pity me. 

The Lady of Moscow 59 

Softly the wind made answer in song: 

High and low 

Through the world I go, 

All viewless, and no face I know. 

O ask the stars 

That from the skies 
Look on the world 

Like a million eyes. 

The Princess waited until night came on. Then 
she sang to the stars : 

O stars that shine all bright and clear. 

Mine eyes are dimmed with tear on tear. 

O wilt thou pity me and hear? 

O hast thou seen my love most dear? 

Doth he think of me? Will he e'er come near? 

S weedy the stars made answer: 

O ask the moon that roves all night, 
And o'er the dim world sheds her light 
She knoweth more than do the stars 
Of men and women and love and wars. 

When the Moon arose, the Princess sang: 

O Moon, thy face is calm and fair, 

And mine is furrowed in despair — 

Now tarry and hear, now tarry and hear. 

O hast thou seen my knight most dear, 

The golden knight I love so well? — 

Doth he think of me? Will he e'er come near? 

Beautiful Moon, oh! hear and tell 

6o Russian Folk-Life 

The Moon heard and made answer, singing 
softly : 

Alas! O Princess fair, 

Who weepest in despair, 
By me thy knight hath ne'er beholden been. 

Tarry till night is done, 

Then ask the rising Sun — 
To whom all things are known, by whom all men are seen. 

All night long the Princess sat waiting until 
dawn broke and the Sun arose. Then she sang: 

O Sun, behold my grie( 
And give my heart relief — 
Now tarry and hear; now tarry and hear. 
O hast thou seen my knight 
In armour golden bright? 
Doth he think of me? Will he e'er come near? 
I moan, I sigh, 
Alone am I. 

When the Sun heard this song of sorrow, he 
sang with bird-like voice, quivering with hope 
and joy: 

O sigh no more 

" Alone am I '^ . . • 
For he, thine own, 

Thy love, comes nigh. 
With gladness sound 

Thy harp and sing, 
For he hath found 

The golden ring. 

For ages long, 
In deeps profound. 

The Lady of Moscow 6i 

Hath lain the ring 

That he hath found 
He seeks thee now 

Afar and wide; 
He vows that thou 

Wilt be his bride. 

An army strong 

He leadeth here — 
The Demon laughs 

And knows no fear. 
For with his breath 

He can lay low 
In deadly swoon 

The strongest foe. 

Bui tremble not, 

Nor be dismayed, 
For to thy Prince 

1 11 give mine aid. 
And sigh no more 

"Alone am I*' . . . 
Be of good cheer, 

Thy knight comes nigh, 
Who loves thee well — 

Good-bye, good-bye. 

That morning the Golden Knight, horsed on 
a prancing steed, was leading his strong army 
through a river valley towards the Kremlin. He 
thought of Princess Peerless now with joy and 
now with sorrow. Thrice he had beheld her in 
his dreams. In the first dream she sat among 
her maidens, and seemed as beautiful as the moon 
surrounded by pale white stars; in the second 
(jrcam b^ saw the Demon, who byilt round her 

62 Russian Folk-Life 

castle a wall of iron, while she sat at her high 
window weeping tears of woe ; in the third dream 
he gazed in her deep eyes that were dreaming of 
him alone. The Knight rode on, musing over his 

The Sun rose high, and when he beheld the 
Golden Knight, spoke to him and said: " It is use- 
less for you to lead an army against the Demon. 
Send all your soldiers home again, and your fiery 
steed also, and go forth yourself alone to rescue 
the Princess. She cannot be set free until the 
Demon is slain, and he cannot be slain in battle. 
You alone among all men can accomplish his fall. 
Listen to me, and do as I counsel you, so that all 
may be well." 

''As you advise me, so shall I do, and that 
right gladly," the Golden Knight made answer. 

When he had spoken thus he flung his golden 
ring into the river, and commanded his soldiers 
to march homeward, leaving him alone without 
steed, or companion, or any weapon. The army 
marched up the valley and vanished from sight. 

Said the Sun: "You must slay the Demon, so 
that the Princess may be set free. He cannot be 
struck down until you have obtained secret know- 
ledge regarding him. You must, therefore, visit 
that wise old woman, the Yaga. She will in- 
struct you as to what should be done. But first 
of all you must find the magic horse that will 
carry you to her distant dwelling. Turn eastward 
now, and walk on foot until you reach the great 

The Lady of Moscow 63 

plain. In the middle of that plain there grow 
three stately oak-trees, and close to the oak-trees 
you will find an iron door which opens to an 
underground mansion. Inside the mansion the 
horse waits for you, and beside the horse hangs 
the invisible club that will carry out your com- 

The Sun bade the Golden Knight farewell, 
and he then rose up to set out on his lonely 
journey. At first there were doubts in his heart 
He knew not what mysterious perils awaited him, 
and sometimes, as he walked on, he wished that 
his brave soldiers were at hand and within call. 
Over mountains he went and across broad valleys, 
and sometimes he was delayed while searching for 
the ford of a broad stream. He kept pressing 
eastward day after day until seven days had gone 
past. Then on the eighth day he reached the 
great plain, and saw before him three giant oaks 
whose branches rose almost to the clouds. 

Towards these giant oaks he walked with hasty 
steps, and soon found the iron door which leads 
to the underground mansion. He opened the 
door and beheld a flight of steps twisting down- 
ward in deepening shadow. Fearlessly he de- 
scended until he came to another door, which he 
opened also. Thick darkness then confronted 
him, and he faltered. But suddenly his heart 
was uplifted to hear from afar off the neighing of 
a horse. He pressed onward through a narrow 
passage, groping his way with hands outstretched 

64 Russian Folk-Life 

until he reached another iron door. This door he 
opened likewise, and resumed his journey through 
night -black corridors which were silent as the 
tomb. In all he met with twelve doors, each 
of which he flung wide. When he had passed 
through the last door of all, he found himself in 
the chamber in which the horse was bound fast. 
A dim light burned there, and as soon as he 
entered, the horse sprang up and broke free from 
the twelve chains with which a magician had 
bound him long ages before. Then it spoke to 
the Golden Knight and said : " For many un- 
counted years 1 have waited for you, my de- 
liverer. Now know that I am at your service. 
Leap upon my back, and stretch forth your hand 
and seize the invisible club which hangs beside 
me. This club will carry out whatever command 
you give in combat, and return again to your hand 
when you call upon it. Let us hasten forth from 
this dismal place. My heart is panting for the 
sunlight. Whither shall I carry you? I will 
hasten speedily to whatever place you name." 

Seated on the horse's back, the Prince returned 
to the surface of the great plain. Then he said 
to the wise animal: "Carry me towards the dwell- 
ing of the Yaga." 

The horse immediately sprang forward and 
rose high in the air. Treading the clouds and 
speeding like the wind, it went on all day long 
without pausing until the sun began to sink low 
in the west Then it descended tp the earth, 

The Lady of Moscow 65 

and entered a thick forest of great oak-trees, in 
the middle of which the Yaga has her dwelling. 
It hastened fearlessly through the shadows. Deep 
silence brooded all around. No wind whispered 
there, nor stream raised its voice; no bird sang, 
and no insect caused a sound. There was, indeed, 
no sign of life anywhere, and day was fast fading 
into night 

In the middle of this strange and awesome 
forest the Golden Knight beheld the dwelling of 
the Yaga. It was a feather-thatched hut perched 
on birds' legs, and it turned round and round con- 
tinually, now this way and now that, so as to 
prevent anyone who approached it from entering 
by the door. 

The Golden Knight muttered a secret spell and 
spoke, saying: "O hut, hear and obey. Turn 
round with the door towards me and your back 
to the shadows and stand still." 

The hut turned round as he commanded it and 
stood still. Then he walked through the door, 
and beheld the old Yaga sitting alone in the 
middle of the one chamber within. She looked 
up and exclaimed: "No mortal has ever entered 
my dwelling before. Why have you come hither, 
O Golden knight.?" 

"Foolish Yaga," answered the Knight, "it is 
not seemly that you should ask questions before 
you make offer to me of hospitality." 

The old woman at once rose up and prepared 
a meal for him. Then he sat down and ate and 

(0821) i 

66 Russian Folk-Life 

drank and took his rest Thereafter he informed 
her why he had taken the perilous journey to- 
wards her dwelling, and she said: '*The task 
which lies before you is dangerous and difficult. 
But I will inform you how the Demon can be 
overcome. You must visit the Isle of Immor- 
tality, which is situated in the midst of the ocean. 
On that island there is an oak, and beneath the 
oak is an iron chest Inside the chest is a 
hare, and under the hare a duck, and under the 
duck an egg. The life of the Demon is in this 
egg; when it is broken before him he will fall 
down dead." 

Next morning the Golden Knight set forth to 
find the egg. He rode on the back of the magic 
horse until he reached the seashore. Then he 
dismounted and wondered what next he should 

While he stood musing on the point of a rocky 
headland, he saw a great fish which had been 
caught in a net " Set me free, 6 Golden 
Knight," the fish exclaimed, "and I will remem- 
ber you in time of need." 

The Knight shook the net, and thus assisted 
the fish to escape, and it disappeared through 
the depths. He stood there gazing across the 
waters, wondering how he could contrive to reach 
the Isle of Immortality. His heart was filled 
with sadness and despair, but the magic horse 
spoke to him and said: "Why do you linger 
here, and why is your face wrinkled with grief?" 

The Lady of Moscow 67 

"Alas!" the Knight made answer, *'how can I 
be otherwise than sorrowful? I cannot cross the 
ocean to reach the Isle of Immortality." 

Said the horse: *'Leap upon my back, and I 
will carry you to that distant isle. But be careful 
and grasp the reins tightly, lest you should fall 

The Knight mounted the magic steed, which 
immediately plunged into the sea. It swam very 
swiftly, raising great billows, and tossing the 
spray to right and to left. The brave Knight 
held the reins tightly, and in time was borne 
safely to the shore of the far-distant isle. 

As soon as he climbed the strand he looked 
round about him with eyes of wonder. Then he 
beheld a great oak which grew in the middle of 
the island and walked towards it. Suddenly he 
felt himself endowed with great strength, and, 
grasping the oak, pulled it up by the roots and 
flung it aside. As he did so, the tree moaned 
like a beast in pain. 

In the hole left by the tree the Knight found 
an iron box. As soon as he raised the lid a hare 
leapt forth, and he turned to look at it Then a 
duck came out and flew through the air, grasping 
the egg between its webbed toes. The Knight 
desired above all things to obtain this egg, which 
contained the life of the giant. So he drew his 
bow and shot a swift arrow which went through 
the duck. The egg fell into the sea and was lost. 

Perceiving this the Prince began to utter cries 

68 Russian Folk-Life 

of sorrow, for well he knew that if he could not 
recover the egg, Princess Peerless must remain a 
prisoner in that lonely castle which the Demon 
had surrounded with a wall of iron. His heart 
sank within him, and he ran down to the point of 
a headland and gazed across the waves. Then 
suddenly the fish which he had rescued from the 
net rose up and spoke, saying: "Why do you 
sorrow thus, O Golden Knight? I have not for- 
gotten the service you rendered me. What can I 
do for your sake?" 

" Find me the egg which fell into the sea when 
I shot the duck," the Knight cried out eagerly. 

The fish at once dived, and ere long appeared 
again with the egg in its mouth. Then glad of 
heart was the Golden Knight. He seized the 
egg, but ere he could thank the fish it vanished 
again in the midst of the waters. 

Having thus obtained power over the Demon, 
the Knight leapt on his horse's back, and bade it 
carry him to the lonely castle in which dwelt Prin- 
cess Peerless whom he loved. 

The horse crossed the sea, and when it reached 
dry land it rose high in the air like a bird and 
flew swiftly. Then it made its way towards the 
place where Moscow now stands, and in time the 
Knight found himself close to the castle on the 
Kremlin. He gazed on the iron wall which en- 
closed the palace and walked round it until he 
came to the gate. Beside the gate crouched the 
fierce dragon. Six of its heads were asleep and 

The Lady of Moscow 69 

six remained awake, keeping watch lest anyone 
should venture nigh. 

The Golden Knight stood gazing at the monster 
with wonder but unafraid. Then he bade his 
invisible club to attack it. The club at once flew 
from his hand and began to smite the dragon so 
furiously that its six sleeping heads awoke. 
Suffering great pain the monster leapt from side 
to side, and shrank back, and darted forward, 
attempting to avoid the blows. Its four-and- 
twenty eyes meanwhile glanced in all directions 
looking for the assailant, while from the twelve 
mouths darted forth twelve fiery tongues. But 
still the blows rained down upon it, and each blow 
was like a thunderbolt. At length the dragon 
became so angry that its heads commenced to 
quarrel one with another. In the end it was 
seized with madness and tore itself to pieces, so 
that it expired. 

The Knight called back his invisible club, and 
walked through the iron gate towards the castle. 
He was met by the Princess, who came forth to 
greet him, her eyes sparkling with love and joy. 

" You have slain the dragon," she said softly, 
** but a greater task still awaits you. The cruel 
Demon is coming nigh even now. He will en- 
deavour to poison you with his breath, so be care- 
ful how you approach him. Alas! if you are 
slain, my heart will be broken, and I will fling 
myself over yonder steep into the Moskwa river." 

Said the Golden Knight: '* Beautiful Princess 

lo Russian Folk-Life 

Peerless, have no fear. The Demon is in my 
power. This tgg, which I hold in my hand, con- 
tains his life. I could have slain him ere now, 
but I desire first to punish him for the wrong he 
has done against you." 

As he spoke the heavy footsteps of the Demon 
were heard approaching through the forest Trees 
fell down before him and snapped like twigs as 
he stepped upon them. 

The Golden Knight spoke to his invisible club, 
and said, " Go and smite the Demon." 

As he commanded, so did the club do. It 
flew through the air and smote the Demon heavily 
and long. None but he could have sustained 
such an attack, for he had great strength. He 
looked to right and to left, behind him and before, 
and he gazed upward and towards the ground, 
wondering whence came the blows that he stag- 
gered beneath. Nothing could he see. Soon he 
began to howl with terror and pain. He ran 
forward towards the palace as if to find shelter 
there. But the Golden Knight went out to meet 

The Demon paused and exclaimed, "Ah! you 
are the enemy who is causing me all this pain, are 

*' I have come to slay you," answered the 
Prince, ''because of the evil you have done, and 
chiefly because you have caused Princess Peerless 
to sorrow greatly." 

The Demon heard in silence, and prepared to 

The Lady of Moscow 71 

blow his poisonous breath towards the rescuer of 
the Princess. But ere he could do so, the Golden 
Knight crushed the egg which he held in his 
hand. The yolk dropped upon the ground, and 
immediately the Demon fell dead. 

Then everything underwent a sudden change. 
The sun came out from behind dark clouds and 
shone brightly. Birds that had long been silent 
broke into song throughout the forest The iron 
wall vanished like morning mist, and human 
voices were heard on every side, for all those who 
had been cast down in a swoon, awoke and re- 
sumed their various duties again. Towards the 
Princess came her twelve maidens, and she wept 
to hear their voices once again. 

There were great rejoicings in the castle when 
the Golden Knight and Princess Peerless were 
married. They lived happily together for long 
years. There was less sorrow than there had 
been in the world after the Demon of the Under- 
world had been slain. 

All the people who were liberated from the 
spells cast upon them by the Demon elected to 
remain near to the castle on the Kremlin. They 
acknowledged the Golden Knight as their Tsar, 
and the Princess Peerless as Tsarina, and they 
made a clearance in the forest where they built 
the first houses of the city of Moscow, which was 
named after the Moskwa river. In time Moscow 
became the capital of the great Kingdom of Mus- 
kovy, from which modern Russia has grown. 


One sunny forenoon in early summer Little 
Mikhail stood at a street corner in a riverside 
suburb of Petrograd with a basket tray full of 
fancy cakes of white bread, called Kringels, sus- 
pended from his neck. He was a tall slim boy, 
not more than twelve years old, with pale pinched 
cheeks, large grey eyes, and clustering chestnut 
hair. ** Kringels, fresh kringels," he kept shout- 
ing; ** who'll buy, who'll buy?" 

Vendors old and young made the narrow streets 
resound with their cries. Some darted hither and 
thither jostling passers-by, pausing now and again 
as they scanned high windows, expecting signals 
from customers. Others ranged themselves along 
the footpaths, sitting or standing beside their little 
stocks of merchandise. '* Pots and pans — dishes 
of all sorts," a woman called from the doorway 
of an empty house on the steps of which she had 
arranged her wares. *' Green onions and cucum- 
ber," shouted a little old man with a harsh voice. 
** Matches and pipes," droned another, while a 
ragged girl cried, ** Needles and pins, buttons and 
thread," in a sing-song manner that the barefooted 
children amused themselves by imitating. 


Mikhail the Kringel Seller 73 

Housewives paused to bargain with the vendors, 
sometimes arguing with them and sometimes 
gossiping. The clamour of human voices was 
occasionally drowned by the rattling of wagons 
passing to and from the dockyards. 

"Kringels, fresh kringels; who'll buy?" shouted 
Little Mikhail, his shrill voice rising above the 
confused clamour of the street. 

'* When I was young," remarked a vendor who 
sold cheap jewellery and brightly-coloured cotton 
handkerchiefs, '' I could shout as lustily as the 
kringel boy. Now I croak like a black crow by 
the wayside." 

The woman who sold earthenware pots shook 
her head. '* Poor Mikhail!" she sighed, he must 
keep on shouting like that because Red Koko is 
watching him." 

" Is Red Koko his father?" 

"No; the boy is an orphan. Koko's daugh- 
ter tells me she has cared for him since he 
was three years old, and he calls her 'Little 

"He must be some relative, surely," suggested 
the vendor of jewellery and handkerchiefs. 

" No one here knows," the woman said. "He 
does not resemble either Koko or his daughter. 
When he came to Petrograd about ten years ago 
he spoke the White Russian dialect, and knew 
some foreign words, like the children of rich 
people. There is some mystery about that boy," 
the woman added. "Although he is so gentle 

74 Russian Folk-Life 

and attentive to his work, Red Koko is very 
harsh to him." 

While the vendors were thus discussing Mikhail, 
he was approached by a little dark woman, carry- 
ing a fresh supply of kringels, which she herself 
had baked. 

** That is Red Koko's daughter," explained the 
seller of earthenware pots and plates. 

** Kringels, fresh kringels; who'll buy?" the boy 
kept shouting. 

•'You look tired, Mikhail," Koko's daughter 
whispered; "does your head pain you still?" 

** Not so much now, little mother," answered 
the boy. •* But I wish it were night-time, so 
that I might return home. The hours pass very 

*' Have you seen my father?" she whispered 
anxiously. "If I thought he were not near, I 
would take your place for a time, so that you 
might lie down and rest yourself." 

" He is in Pavlov's vodka shop," the lad an- 
swered wearily; "he will return here again before 

The woman sighed heavily. " He'll take all 
the money from you, of course, as he always does. 
Give me a few kopecks, Mikhail, so that I may 
buy liver for you, else you will get nothing to eat 
for supper except black bread." 

The boy thrust a few coins into her hand, and 
then, glancing over his shoulder, whispered: 
" Hasten away, little mother. I see him coming." 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 75 

The woman drew her shawl over her head and 
went down a narrow twisting lane, walking quickly. 
She was soon lost to sight 

In another moment a heavy hand suddenly 
clutched Mikhail's right arm. 

"Why are you not shouting, son of a frog?" 
asked a gruff voice. Mikhail looked up and be- 
held the angry face of the man who was known 
as " Red Koko ". He had thick red hair and a 
red beard, a squat nose, and bleary blue eyes. 

" Kringels, fresh kringels; who 11 buy.^" the lad 
called nervously. 

'* Can't you shout louder?" growled Koko, tight- 
ening his grip on the boy's arm until he squirmed 
with pain. 

" Kringels, fresh kringels — oh! o— h!" the little 
fellow wailed. 

"Why do you torture the boy so?" exclaimed 
the woman who sold earthenware. " You are a 
cruel man, Koko; and some day the police will 
get you." 

Koko took no notice of her remark. "Give 
me all the money you have made," he said to 

The lad counted twenty -three kopecks into 
Koko's outstretched hand. 

" Haven't you more?" growled the man. " You 
are Sf)ending your time here to little purpose. I 
must keep a closer eye on you. Shout loud and 
press people to buy. If you don't, I shall thrash 
you to-night again." 

76 Russian Folk-Life 

He turned away, swaying unsteadily, while the 
boy resumed shouting, " Kringels, fresh kringels!" 

** Does Koko beat you often?" asked the woman 
who sold earthenware. 

" I hide from him when he comes home," an- 
swered the boy. " Besides, he is often so drunk 
that he can't strike one." 

** Still, he does manage to beat you sometimes." 

"Yes, and heavily, too; he is so strong." 

" God will punish him one day for his wicked- 
ness," sighed the woman. 

" Kringels, fresh kringels; who'll buy?" Mikhail 
called. Koko was watching him from a distance, 
smiling grimly and stroking his beard. He was 
prompted by feelings of revenge to ill-use the 
boy. " Mikhail's father," he muttered to himself, 
" used to treat me badly. Several times he had 
me punished by the justices. At length he com- 
pelled me to leave my native village. Little does 
he think now that I have his son in my power 
and am able to make him suffer even more than I 
have suffered." 

Koko had been a tenant of a small holding on 
the estate of Mikhail's father in White Russia. 
He was an indolent man of evil habits, much 
addicted to stealing, who had himself to blame 
for the misfortunes of which he complained. His 
fellow-villagers disliked him, and had many times 
pleaded with the land steward to have him put 

For a few months after having been forced to 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 77 

leave his native place, Koko lived in Moscow. 
Then he resolved to go northward to Petrograd, 
where he hoped to obtain remunerative work at 
the docks. Before leaving, however, he conceived 
a wicked plot to avenge himself on Mikhail's 
father by setting fire to his corn-stacks when the 
harvest had been gathered in. Accordingly he 
walked one day towards the village, which lay 
twenty miles distant from Moscow, and concealed 
himself in a wood on the bank of a stream which 
flows into Moskwa river, there to wait until dark* 
ness came on. 

That evening, as it chanced. Little Mikhail was 
taken for a walk through the trees by his faithful 
old nurse, Masha. He had slept heavily during 
the sultry afternoon, and, the air having grown 
fresh and cool, he raced about in high glee, making 
the wood resound with his shouts and laughter. 
Masha hobbled about and scolded him frequently 
for running away from her. Suddenly he darted 
towards the stream, and while trying to find a 
new hiding-place, so as to tease the old nurse, fell 
over the bank into a swirling pool. He was at 
once carried away by the current round a mass 
of jutting rock which caused the stream to twist 
abruptly and increase its speed. 

Koko was lying on the other side of the rock 
under a clump of bushes, brooding over his wrongs. 
He heard the splash of the falling child, and crept 
out on a ledge to ascertain what had happened. 
Seeing Little Mikhail floating past, he stretched 

78 Russian Folk-Life 

out his right hand and lifted him, dripping like 
a wet sponge, out of the water, thus saving his 
life. The little fellow had been stunned by the 
fall and sudden immersion, and was quite uncon- 
scious. Koko turned him over to empty his mouth 
of water, and observing that he began to breathe 
freely again, laid him down on the soft turf. 

Meanwhile Masha had run towards the river 
bank, and, sliding down the bank, waded towards 
the pool on which the child's cap still floated, 
having been caught by the branch of a fallen tree. 
She advanced boldly until almost beyond her 
depth, only to discover to her horror that Little 
Mikhail had vanished. Half-crazed with grief, 
she left the water, and scrambling up the bank, 
ran towards her master's house for assistance, 
uttering cries of distress. On her way she met 
the child's mother, and falling on her knees, cried 
out brokenly: "Little Mikhail is in the black 
pool" Then she swooned and fell prostrate. 

Koko's first impulse was to restore the boy to 
his parents. For a moment he stood with folded 
arms, gazing at the little inert form stretched out 
on the turf. But his thoughts returned again to 
his wrongs, and he remembered with bitterness 
the empty cottage which his father had built, and 
the hostility shown him by the landlord, the land 
steward, and people of the village. *' No one has 
observed what I have done," he muttered. " No 
one suspects that I am here. I shall carry this 
child away* His father will mourn the loss of his 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 79 

only son more deeply than he would the loss of 
a few stacks of com." 

Smiling a cunning smile, the peasant then 
stripped off the child's blouse and cast it into the 
stream, so as to mislead those who would come to 
search for the body. Then he took Little Mikhail 
in his arms and hastened towards a deep and 
unfrequented part of the wood. There he un- 
dressed the child, and wrapping him in his own 
warm sheepskin coat, gathered a few handfuls of 
twigs and lit a fire, so as to dry the wet clothing. 

In time the boy revived and opened his eyes. 
He stared with mute wonder in the face of the 
rough peasant, who was nursing him tenderly, 
and then lisped faintly, " Masha — I want my 

Koko laid the child down near the fire and 
answered: "I shall carry you to Masha when I 
have dried your clothes. Do not cry out or the 
wild beasts will catch you. Just listen to them." 

Little Mikhail heard the distant cries of the 
men and women who were running up and down 
the banks of the stream searching for his body in 
the gathering darkness. He began to shake with 
fear, and lay watching Koko drying his little gar- 
ments by holding them over the crackling twigs. 
Ere long he fell asleep. When he awoke morn- 
ing had dawned. He found himself in a strange 
room, in which sat Koko and his daughter, drink- 
ing tea. Koko had carried him all the way to 
Moscow under cover of night 

8o Russian Folk-Life 

'* They think Mikhail is drowned," the peasant 
told his daughter. ** To-morrow we shall set out 
for Petrograd and take him with us." 

•* If the police discover what you have done," 
the young woman said, **you will be sent to 

"What does it matter where I go now?" 
growled Koko. ** Outside my native village one 
place is the same as another to me." 

" The police would arrest me also," wailed the 

"No one saw me with the child. Besides, 
have I not saved his life?" 

Next day Koko and his daughter set out for 
Petrograd, taking Little Mikhail with them. The 
boy's parents believed that he was dead. 

Years went past and still Koko kept his secret 
" As long as J live," he vowed, " Mikhail must 
work for me. I don't care what happens to him 

" Kringels, fresh kringels!" shouted the poor 
lost lad on that early summer day, while Koko 
watched him from across the street 

At noon the work&rs streamed from the docks 
and made purchases from the vendors. Mikhail 
sold many kringels during the meal hour, which 
passed quickly. Then the street emptied itself, 
and vendors settled down to gossip and snooze 
along the footpaths. It had grown very warm. 
Dogs crouched in the shadows of high buildings 
and snapped lazily at passing flies. 

« • • 

* • 


* « 


• 4. 


« • 

* • * • w « 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 8i 

Just as a puff of wind sometimes stirs a warm 
and silent wood and makes the leaves rustle 
merrily, so was the sleepy street suddenly 
awakened to animation by the appearance of 
strangers. The curiosity of the vendors was 
aroused, and their tongues began to chatter. 

**Who are these? Look, do you see them?" 
said one to another along the footway. "They 
are coming this way. What can have taken them 

Men yawned and rubbed their eyes; women 
rose up and gathered in little groups, whispering 
and nodding their heads. 

An elderly lady, accompanied by a uniformed 
nurse, came walking slowly down the street It 
was an unusual thing to see such a visitor in 
that poor quarter; all the grand folks drove in 
their carriages when they chanced to visit the 

The vendors wondered who this lady could be 
and why she had come near. Although her hair 
was white as new-fallen snow, she did not seem 
old. There was a softness and tenderness in her 
beautiful face which attracted everyone; her eyes 
were grey and dreamy, and her lips moved con- 
stantly as if she were whispering something to 

Women curtsied to her as she drew near, and 
now and again she smiled sweetly in acknowledg- 
ment. A stout woman lifted up her little son in 
her arms, whispering: "See the beautiful lady, 

82 Russian Folk-Life 

Ivanovitch." The child sucked his thumb and 
looked wonderlngly. Pausing for a moment, the 
lady spoke to the mother in a sad, sweet voice. 
** May your boy be a blessing to you," she said. 
** Never let him go near the river. I had once a 
little boy of mine own, but alas! he was drowned." 
Tears streamed down her cheeks and she turned 

**Poor dear lady," whispered a Jewess, *'her 
mind is crazed with her loss." 

**The rich have their sorrows as well as the 
poor," remarked a frail old man. 

** Her face is saintly and fair," the stout woman 
said. "She spoke out of her heart when she 
prayed that little Ivanovitch would be a blessing 
to me." 

Mikhail saw Koko peering from the doorway 
of a vodka shop, and resumed shouting: 
•• Kringels, sweet kringels — who'll buy?" 

The lady turned towards him with a smile. 
•*I like your face," she said sofdy. **What 
beautiful eyes you have! What is your name, 
little fellow?" 

** Mikhail," answered the boy. 

"How strange!" the lady exclaimed. "That 
was the name of my own little boy. Had he 
lived he would be nearly as old as you are, 
Mikhail. What is your age?" 

" Twelve years." 

" My Mikhail would be twelve too were he alive. 
You look much older, son of my heart. Why do 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 83 

you have to sell these kringels in the street? Are 
your parents very poor?" 

"My parents are dead," the boy answered. 

*' How sad!" sighed the lady. "If you should 
ever happen to be near Moscow, come to see me 
at my country house. I will show you where my 
Little Mikhail was drowned. I cannot yet realize 
he is dead. Sometimes I see him in my dreams, 
wandering about the streets of a strange town, 
weeping while he searches for me. His eyes 
were large and grey like yoiirs, but he had fairer 
hair and his cheeks were plump and red. Will 
you promise to come and see me some day? Ill 
love you because your name is Mikhail." 

"God be merciful to her!" whispered the 
woman who sold hardware. " Her heart is 
broken with grief for her son." 

" Let us move on, madam," the nurse said 
softly. " It is time we returned to the carriage." 

The lady stroked Mikhail's head, gazing at 
him through her tears. " Will you sell me some 
kringels?" she asked. "How much must I pay 
you for all those on the tray?" 

" Fifteen kopecks, madam," answered the boy, 
who blushed deeply, because the other vendors 
were watching and listening. 

The lady drew a silver rouble from her purse. 
"Take this, Mikhail,'* she said, "and eat all the 
kringels yourself ... Now your cheeks are rosy 
and beautiful. You are more like my lost Mikhail 
^han before. My dear boy was taken away fron^ 

84 Russian Folk-Life 

me by God, and I have not been happy since. 
But ah! we shall meet again some day in His good 

She began to weep bitterly, and allowed the 
nurse to lead her away from the kringel seller, 
who was really her own lost son. It was a 
strange meeting after long years of separation. 
Nor was it to be wondered at that neither recog- 
nized the other. 

Koko, who stared with wide eyes through the 
window of a vodka shop, realized what had taken 
place. He knew that the strange lady was 
Mikhail's mother, and feared to venture forth lest 
she would remember his face, and perhaps ask 
him uncomfortable questions. Not until she had 
disappeared did he leave his hiding-place and 
cross the street 

"What did the lady say to you?" he asked 
Mikhail in a low, unsteady voice. 

The boy drew the silver rouble from his pocket 
and answered, " She gave me that." 

Koko took the coin, and stared at it stupidly 
as he turned it over in the palm of his right 

*' But what did she say?" he blurted out, turn- 
ing his eyes upon the boy, who answered: **She 
told me I resembled her son who was drowned, 
and that his name was Mikhail also." 

** What has brought her here?" Koko growled. 

*' She dreams " 

" What?" exclaimed Koko \n a horrified voicp^, 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 85 

" She dreams her dead child is wandering about 
die streets of a strange town," said Mikhail 

The woman who sold hardware had crept near, 
and heard every word that was spoken. Koko's 
strange manner aroused her curiosity. 

"She dreams, does she.*^" Koko muttered, tug- 
ging his beard. 

*' Visions come in dreams, and visions are from 
God," remarked the woman, repeating the saying 
of a holy man. 

Koko glanced at her with startled eyes, and 
then asked Mikhail: *' Did the lady say she would 
return again?" 

Before the boy could answer, the hardware 
woman spoke, saying: *'She thinks Mikhail is 
like her lost son, and has asked him to go and 
visit her at her country house, which is near 
Moscow. Anyone could see that the boy has 
attracted her. She will certainly return again. 
Perhaps she wants to adopt him. . . . What makes 
you afraid, Red Koko?" 

The man had turned suddenly very pale, and 
shook like an aspen leaf. Observing this, the 
woman grew more bold. 

"Whose son is Mikhail?" she asked sharply. 
" God knows what secret you are hiding in your 
heart. Red Koko, and He will punish you if 
you have done wrong. You speak the dialect of 
White Russia, as does the dear lady who has just 
gone away. Why are you troubled so much 
about her? Why " 

86 Russian Folk-Life 

Koko made no answer. He turned away 
abruptly, and went towards the docks with hast- 
ening steps. 

**When next the lady comes I shall speak to 
her," said the vendor of hardware to herself as 
she returned to the door-steps on which she had 
arranged her wares. " I shall tell her that Koko 
ill-uses the boy, and that he is afraid of her for 
some reason or other. Perhaps she knows some- 
thing about him." 

When Mikhail returned home that evening he 
told Koko's daughter about the lady with the 
pale, sad face, who had spoken to him regarding 
her lost child, and presented him with a silver 
rouble. "Perhaps she will come again, little 
mother," he sighed as he crouched in a corner, 
his elbows on his knees and his hands pressed 
against his aching brow. ** Her voice was like 
sweet music. I felt I had seen her somewhere a 
long time ago — ^perhaps I saw her in a dream." 

Koko's daughter trembled. She felt certain 
the strange lady was Mikhail's mother. ** Does 
your head pain you still, Mikhail?" she asked in 
a low voice. 

** Yes, very much," answered the boy. " I feel 
I cannot eat anything. I will lie down and try 
to sleep." 

" My poor boy, you have wearied yourself to- 
day. Lie down and sleep a little," Koko's 
daughter urged him tenderly, with tears in her 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 87 

** Do not let your father strike me to-night," 
Mikhail pleaded, as he stretched himself on a 
heap of straw which was covered by a ragged 

" Have I not always been kind to you, 
Mikhail?" Koko's daughter asked in a trembling 
voice as she drew a rug over him. 

"Yes, yes, little mother; always kind." 

She kissed his forehead. "You won't forget 
that. If the great lady comes to take you away, 
she will make you rich. Promise me you will tell 
her I have cared for you lovingly ever since you 
were a little child." 

** Had my mother — my real mother — soft eyes 
like the great lady's?" asked the boy. 

" Your mother had indeed beautiful eyes." 

"Ah! why did she die?" Mikhail sighed deeply. 
"Are you weeping for me, little mother?" 

" For you and for myself," answered Koko's 
daughter. " It will break my heart if you are 
taken away from me." 

" Perhaps the lady will take you also. Who 

His voice had grown faint, and he soon fell 
asleep. The woman sat beside him weeping, and 
waiting for her father. But Koko did not return 
home that night He had found a hiding-place 
somewhere near the docks, and waited an oppor- 
tunity to escape from Petrograd to some distant 
place where no one would know him. 

Next morning Mikhail went to sell kringels as 

88 Russian Folk-Life 

usual at his accustomed place. He looked paler 
than usual, and his voice had grown thin and 
tremulous. t 

*'The kringel boy is unwell," one vendor re- 
marked to another. 

"If the lady comes to-day," said the woman 
who sold hardware, *' I shall speak to her about 
Koko. But where is Koko to-day.*^" 

Mikhail's eyes searched the street for him in 
vain. "Kringels, fresh kringels," he shouted; 
•* who'll buy, wholl buy?" 

"It will be very hot to-day again," growled a 
heavy man who carried a baJe of goods on his 
shoulders, and stood resting himself against the 
wall beside a group of vendors. 

"To-morrow Til seek the country highways," 
a pedlar said with a yawn. " I am weary of the 
city life, and long to see green woods again. 
The air is thick here; one could cleave it with 
a hatchet" 

"Ah! she is coming again," exclaimed a stout 
woman excitedly. 

" Who is coming?" another asked. 

"The lady who blessed my little Ivanovitch 
yesterday and spoke to Mikhail, the kringel seller." 

Vendors rose up to watch her drawing near, 
walking slowly beside her nurse. What was 
going to happen? Would she take Mikhail away 
with her? Everyone grew excited and curious. 

"Where can Red Koko be?" asked one of the 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 89 

"If the lady gives Mikhail another silver 
rouble," a woman remarked, ** Koko will soon 
make appearance. Rest assured he is not far 
away. " 

"What is wrong with Mikhail?" exclaimed a 
Jewess in a startled voice. 

"He is ill," the stout woman said, and turned 
at once to hasten towards the boy, who had 
suddenly fainted on the foot-path. His face was 
ashen pale and his chin sank on his breast: the 
tray tilted sideways and all the kringels were 
scattered on the ground. A crowd had gathered 
round him when the lady drew near. 

"Alas I madam. Little Mikhail has fainted," 
the Jewess informed her. 

" Stand apart! let him have fresh air," said the 
nurse as she pressed forward. 

" Poor boy! poor boy!" exclaimed the lady in 
a broken voice. "He has neither mother nor 
father to care for him." 

The woman who sold hardware had taken the 
fainting boy in her arms, kneeling on the foot- 
path, while the nurse unloosed his shirt Another 
woman was sprinkling water from an earthen- 
ware pot on his white, pinched face. 

"Stand apart!" the nurse repeated. Reluc- 
tantly the crowd of vendors drew back. 

Mikhail began to revive, and, opening his 
eyes, saw the face of the sad lady, who was bend- 
ing over him. He smiled faintly. 

"Poor boy! poor boy!" she kept repeating. 

90 Russian Folk-Life 

Dipping her handkerchief in the pot of water, she 
damped his forehead and cheeks. Then suddenly 
she uttered an exclamation of surprise. 

" Look, look!" she cried, addressing the nurse. 
"There is a little brown mole above his collar- 
bone. My Little Mikhail had a mole there also." 

She clutched the boy convulsively in her 
arms. "My Little Mikhail has come to life 
again," she exclaimed. 

"Hush! madam," urged the nurse. "Do not 
excite yourself. This is but a poor woman's 

" He is none other than your own child," ex- 
claimed a woman excitedly. 

Everyone looked round. It was Koko's 
daughter who had spoken. 

" How do you know?" asked the nurse. 

" My father rescued Mikhail from drowning 
and carried him away. Oh! I am not to blame. 
I have been kind to the boy, and I love him 

"This is Red Koko's daughter," explained the 
woman who sold hardware. " She has cared for 
the boy since he was three years old." 

" 1 remember Red Koko," the lady said. " He 
was a wicked man." 

" Mothers-are you indeed my own mother?" 
asked Mikhail, raising himself up. 

"My child, my long-lost child!" sobbed the 
lady, clasping him in her arms and kissing him 
again and again. 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 91 

The nurse, who remained cool and collected in 
that excited group, whispered to one of the male 
vendors, requesting him to fetch their carriage, 
which was waiting in an adjoining street Then 
she spoke to Koko's daughter, asking, " Do you 
know this lady's name?" 

**She is Madam Dolgoruk, and her husband 
is General Vasfli Petr6vich Kantemfr," that poor 
young woman answered with agitation. ** May 
God forgive my father for the sin he has com- 
mitted in stealing Little Mikhail from his parents!" 

**The boy must indeed be Madam's lost son. 
How wonderful!" someone exclaimed. 

"Wonders are worked by God every day of 
our lives," remarked an old man. 

** Madam's prayers have been heard and an- 
swered," the stout woman said softly as she 
crossed herself. 

In a few minutes the carriage drove up. 

"You will come with me, my son, my son," the 
lady whispered, embracing Mikhail tenderly. She 
seemed to be in dread lest he might be taken 
away from her again. 

" Let Koko's daughter come also," pleaded the 

" Yes, yes," his mother assented. " Whatever 
you wish shall be done, my own boy, my sweet 

Koko's daughter hesitated to enter the carriage. 
"You had better accompany us," whispered the 
nurse. " The General will wish to hear what 

92 Russian Folk-Life 

you have to say. Do not wait until the police 
come for you." 

Pale and trembling, the young woman obeyed, 
and in another minute the carriage rolled out of 
the street 

The vendors broke up into little groups, talk- 
ing with animation over what had taken place. 

"What think you?" exclaimed the woman who 
sold hardware. ** The kringel boy is the son of 
rich parents. He was stolen by Red Koko." 

"Where is Red Koko?" asked another vendor. 

"He has run away," a little old man asserted. 

" The police will find him and he will be sent 
to Siberia," declared another. 

"We shall miss Litde Mikhail," said the 
Jewess. " He had a sweet voice and gentle 

"Although Koko used him ill," the stout 
woman sighed, "God watched over him. He is 
merciful to all, rich and poor, and in His good 
time He guided the mother to her lost child." 

"Did the lady not say she had seen Mikhail 
in her dreams?" exclaimed the woman who sold 
hardware. "And did I not say yesterday that 
visions come in dreams and visions are from God? 
So I heard a holy man once declare, and now his 
words have come true." 

Red Koko was never again seen in the river- 
side suburb. His daughter, however, returned 
one day to bid farewell to the vendors, and to 
distribute gifts of money among them from 

Mikhail the Kringel Seller 93 

Mikhairs mother. ** Mikhail has been very ill," 
she told them, "and is going south to Moscow 
to-morrow. His mother has taken me into her 
service, and I will accompany her and Mikhail 
to her country house, which is near to my native 

*' She has forgiven you, then," said the woman 
who sold hardware. 

"God has restored her to her right mind 
again," Koko's daughter made answer, "and her 
heart is full of forgiveness. She will not even 
have my father punished." 

"And is Mikhail very happy?" asked the stout 

" Happy indeed," Koko's daughter sighed. 
" Had his mother not found him, he would 
assuredly have died. She has nursed him back 
to life again." 

" When my son Ivanovitch is old enough," de- 
clared the stout woman, "he will sell kringels, 
like Little Mikhail. Never shall I forget the 
sweet lady who blessed my boy, and her dear 
son who lived amongst us all these years." 



A cobbler's son in Vladimir had been sent to a 
school by a rich lady who desired him to become 
a priest. His father took great pride in the boy, 
and cleared a corner of his shop where he might 
sit in quietness to pursue his studies undisturbed 
by the rest of the children, Like all other shoe- 
makers he knew many old stories, and, believing 
these would increase his son's knowledge, he was 
wont to relate them to him as he patched and 
stitched the boots that his customers left to be 

"What are you reading about to-day?" he 
asked his son, who was poring over a book in 
his corner. 

" The history of Ivan the Terrible, Father. 
He was a great Tsar, who did much to make 
Russia rich and powerful." 

" Does your book tell you how many Tsars 
called Ivan sat on the imperial throne?" 

"No, Father; were there more than one?" 

'* I have heard it told, my son, that five Ivans 
in all ruled over the country. This information I 
bad from a wise and learned priest Of three q( 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 95 

them I know little or nothing, but I know some- 
thing of two. One was Ivan called the Terrible, 
of whom you are reading, and the other was the 
first Ivan of all. This first Ivan reigned in the 
days when the Tartars oppressed the people of 
our country, and plundered them without mercy. 
He delivered the whole land from the Tartar 

"He must have been a mighty Tsar, in- 

'* And yet, when he was a boy, he lived the life 
of a beggar. The Tartars sought to slay him 
soon after he was born, but his nurse exchanged 
him for the child of a poor woman who lived 
in this ancient city, while her own child was 
reared as a Prince in Moscow. Would you 
like to hear the story of how little Ivan became 
a Tsar?" 

" Indeed I would. Father," exclaimed the 

" Then come here and sit beside me," said the 
shoemaker, **so that your knowledge may be 

The cobbler then related the legend which the 
peasants of many generations had interwoven 
with the memory of the fourteenth-century Tsar, 
Ivan I, who founded a new dynasty which en- 
dured for nearly a century and a half. Here I 
set it down as it was afterwards retold by the 
cobbler's son, when he grew up to be a village 
priest in bis native province, 

96 Russian Folk-Life 

Little Ivan was a comely boy, who lived in a 
hut on the outskirts of Vladimir with his father 
and mother, who were very poor. He had bright 
eyes and a noble brow, and the rich people smiled 
to him, being attracted by his countenance, al- 
though he went about in rags. In summer-time 
he fared well, for he was given alms by many, 
but in winter when food became scarce the boy 
felt glad if he was able to procure one meal a day. 
He learned how to be contented with little. Once 
his father came home from the town, on a cold 
and bitter evening, with a small loaf of black 
bread. It was all the food he could purchase 
that day. He cut it into three portions, one for 
his wife, one for little Ivan, and one for himself. 
Then he sat down before the fire to enjoy the 
warmth, for he had wandered about through the 
cold streets since early morning. 

Now there crouched behind the stove in that 
poor hut a grim spirit, named Krutschina, which 
signifies **the Sorrowful One". She watched the 
man munching slowly, and suddenly stretched out 
her grisly black hand and snatched away his 
portion of black bread. Then she shrank back 
again into her hiding-place. 

**Alas!" cried the hungry man, making obei- 
sance to the spirit, " restore to me my black bread, 
else I will die of hunger." 

Said the spirit, " Having devoured it, I cannot 
grant your request But I will give you instead 

• •, 



« • « • 

1. • 

• t • • 

• * * • ^ 


• » » 

• » • » 

• • . 

• •• 

•> • » 



. * 

• * • • 

. • . 

^ 1 s * • 

. - r ■ * 

• «. "• • 

< . > t 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 97 

a duck, which will lay a golden egg every morn- 

** So be it, Krutschina," the poor man an- 
swered. ** Thinking of the duck and its golden 
egg, I will go to bed forgetting my hunger. 
But tell me, first, where I will find this wonderful 

Said the spirit, "When you go towards the 
town to-morrow, you will see a pond. In the 
pond there will be a duck; seize the duck and 
hasten home with it." 

** Very well, Krutschina," the man said ; ** I will 
do as you advise me." Then he went to bed, 
and having overcome the pangs of hunger with a 
strong will, fell fast asleep. 

At dawn next morning he rose and left his hut 
to hasten towards the town. To his great joy he 
soon found that the spirit had spoken truly. He 
beheld a pond, and in the pond a duck. So he 
seized the bird at once and returned home with 

Little Ivan clapped his hands with joy when he 
beheld the duck, which the man handed to his 
wife, saying, " May it lay an egg soon! We have 
need of gold." 

"May it be our salvation!" the poor woman 
exclaimed. As she spoke, she placed the bird in 
a basket and covered it over carefully with a 

When an hour had elapsed, she lifted up the 

duck and found that it had laid a golden egg. 
(0821) 7 

98 Russian Folk-Life 

Great was her joy. She called her husband and 
little Ivan, who had gone outside to chop wood, 
and they hastened to her side. The boy clapped 
his hands with joy, his eyes meanwhile sparkling 
like moonlit water. 

"One golden egg each morning," his mother 
said. " Such is our good fortune now." 

The poor man was feeling hungry. He said 
nothing but " Give it to me." He thrust the egg 
into his bosom and hastened towards the town. 
A merchant, to whom he showed it, paid him 
down, without hesitation, a hundred roubles, 
which he lifted up without excitement, as if he 
was accustomed to handling large sums of money. 
Then he made his way to the market-place and 
purchased a goodly quantity of provisions. Little 
Ivan danced with joy to see his father returning 
from the town, carrying food in abundance for the 
starving household 

Next morning the duck laid another golden 
egg. The man did not hasten to the town with 
it. He thought he would wait for a week so that 
the worth of this wonderful bird might be tested. 
It did not fail or disappoint him. With each new 
day came a new egg^ and the owner of the duck 
soon found himself wealthy. He kept his secret, 
and his wife and son never revealed the source of 
the family fortune either. After disposing of 
several eggs the man built a large house, which 
he furnished exceedingly well. Then he pur- 
chased a shop and began to trade with profit 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 99 

As time went on, little Ivan's father grew very 
rich; but he seemed never to be satisfied. The 
more gold he made the more he desired to make. 
He rubbed his hands gleefully every time he 
thought of the duck which laid a golden egg each 

One day when he was away from home, an 
inquisitive clerk employed at the shop called at 
his house. The duck had just laid a golden egg, 
and he saw his employer's wife lifting it out of the 
basket Ere she realized fully what she had 
done, she revealed to this young man the secret 
of her husband's wealth. The clerk was greatly 
astonished. He lifted up the bird and examined 
it with much interest Under one of the wings 
he observed gold letters, which read — 

TAe Man who Eats this Duck will 
become a Tsar. 

He placed the bird down on the floor at once, 
and said nothing regarding his discovery. Well he 
knew that neither his employer nor his wife could 

" You must not tell my husband that you have 
seen the duck," the woman pleaded. 

The clerk shook his head. '* I will promise 
nothing," said he. 

" Keep the secret I have revealed," she urged 
softly, "and I will give you much gold." 

Said the clerk : " Because you have told me all 

loo Russian Folk-Life 

about the bird, you have broken a magic spell. 
It will never lay another golden egg.'* 

The woman believed him. ** Do not tell my 
husband," she repeated. " I will reward you for 
your silence. Fortunately we have enough wealth 
to last us all our days. Besides, my husband 
makes much money in trading. He will not miss 
the golden eggs now." 

Said the clerk: ** Very well. I promise not to 
confess against you. But he will discover the 
truth all the same, for when he returns home to- 
morrow the duck will inform him of what has 

The woman began to weep. " Alas!" she cried, 
" I fear to meet my husband. What can I do?" 

Said the clerk: "The only thing you can do 
now is to kill the duck." 

" But what explanation can I give to my husband 
for killing this wonderful bird?" she wailed. 

Said the clerk: " Kill it and cook it, and I will 
eat it. The magic of the bird will thus pass to 
me, and I will be able to bewitch your husband 
and cause him to forget that he ever possessed 
a duck which laid golden eggs." 

Like a child, the woman did as this cunning 
fellow advised her. She slew the duck, plucked 
and cleaned it, and thrust it into the oven. Then 
the clerk said: "I will return to the shop now. 
Come with me and pay over the money you 
promised. Then I will eat this duck and proceed 
at once to bewitch your husband." 

How Little Ivan became*: ft :Tsar .191: • 

** • • • • » "• • 

The woman said: **Very:*w^, f J^fet'i©: ggft: .•;. 
done with the business as quickly as' possible*.*' 

As she spoke she threw a cloak over her 
shoulders and hurried out of the house with the 

Little Ivan had risen early that morning to go 
skating on the frozen river. He returned home 
sooner than usual, feeling very hungry, and began 
to search through the house for food. Opening 
the oven, he saw the duck roasting and smacked 
his lips. " How lucky I am!" he exclaimed. *' I 
will have a rare feast before mother returns." 

When the duck was thoroughly cooked he 
pulled it out, placed it on a large plate, and sat 
down at a table to devour it. He never tasted 
sweeter food in his life. The more he ate the 
more he desired to eat, and he went on eating 
until nothing was left but the bones. Then he 
leapt up gladly, and seizing his skates returned 
to the frozen river again. 

In time his mother returned home. She laid 
out a table and then went to the kitchen to obtain 
the duck. To her horror, she discovered that it 
had been eaten up. 

The clerk arrived a few minutes later. When 
he learned what had occurred he became very 
angry, and exclaimed: "You have cheated me, 
false woman! You have eaten the duck yourself. 
Now nothing can save you from your husband's 

He left the house at once. ** Although I cannot 

•?»2. •. .• : : J^iu^sian Folk-Life 

• « 

• 4* 

/. :be-a>'7^f/* htf- said to himself, "I am now a 

"wealthy mari,*'for tliat foolish woman has allowed 

me to become possessed of the greater portion of 

her husband's ready money. I shall leave this 

town at once and go and live in a foreign country." 

When Little Ivan's father came home next day 
he looked round the house, saying, ** Where is 
the duck?" 

His wife followed him. *' I do not know," she 
kept repeating. Little Ivan amused himself that 
morning building a snow house in the back yard. 
His father called to him: ** Have you seen the 
duck? I cannot find it anywhere." 

The boy ran towards his parents and said: 
" Yesterday I returned from skating, feeling very 
hungry. I could have eaten an ox. I opened 
the oven and found a roasted duck, which I pulled 
out and devoured, leaving nothing but the bones. 
But whether or not it was the duck you are search- 
ing for I cannot tell." 

His father flew into a sudden passion, and not 
only whipped the boy, but turned him out of the 
house. Then he scolded his wife, who wept bitter 
tears. Afterwards he went to his shop, and dis- 
covered that the clerk had ruined him and fled 
away. He caused a search to be made for the 
scoundrel, and after several days had gone past 
was informed that his dishonest servant had been 
robbed and slain by a band of fierce thieves, who 
infested a forest about two hundred versts from 
the town. 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 103 

So it came about that this man who had owned 
the magic duck, which brought him good fortune, 
became very poor again. He returned to the 
little hut in which he had been wont to dwell, and 
there he mourned the loss of his foster-son, whom 
he had sent away in his wrath. 

Little Ivan had gone on a long journey. After 
he left his home he walked onward until he reached 
a village five versts south of Vladimir. There he 
met an old woman, who spoke to him, saying: 
"Why are you weeping so bitterly? You are 
young and strong, and should be happy indeed." 

"Alas!" answered the lad, "I have been sent 
away from home for eating a duck which laid 
every day a golden egg.'' 

" You have done a great wrong," the old woman 
told him, "and it is now your duty to repay the 
loss which you have caused. My advice to you 
is to travel southward until you reach Moscow, 
the capital of the next kingdom. Enter through 
the gate and accept the first offer which is made 
to you." 

" Very well," answered the lad, " I shall do as 
you advise me." 

The old woman turned towards the east, and 
Little Ivan took the road leading southward. 
For nine days the lad wandered on and on, and 
each day he grew more weary. By night he 
slept in the houses of peasants, and more than 
one kindly woman begged of him to take rest 
beneath her roof for a few days, fearing he would 

I04 Russian Folk-Life 

grow faint and die by the roadside. On the tenth 
day, however, his wanderings came to an end. 
At eventide he drew near to Moscow and entered 
through the northern gate. A great crowd of 
people lined the main thoroughfare, and when 
they beheld Little Ivan they raised shouts of 
joy and cried: 

" Here comes our Tsar! Long live our 

NOBLE Tsar!" 

The lad was greatly astonished. Soldiers 
gathered round him, and then the chief citizens 
came forward, and, having knelt before him and 
kissed his hands, they led him towards the royal 
palace on the Kremlin. Crowds thronged all the 
streets that Little Ivan passed through, and they 
shouted words of loyal welcome. The lad gazed 
about him with wonder, but he could not help 
smiling and bowing to see so many kindly and 
happy faces. The more he smiled the more 
delighted the people became. 

When he reached the palace, Little Ivan was 
informed by a high official that the old Tsar had 
died some days previously. He left no heir, and 
the people quarrelled among themselves as to 
who should be selected to reign over them. At 
length they decided to proclaim as their Tsar the 
first stranger who entered the northern gate of 
the city. Everyone was delighted to find that a 
comely lad with bright eyes and a noble brow 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 105 

chanced to visit their capital. In their hearts 
they were all firmly convinced that he would grow 
up to be a wise and just ruler, who would devote 
his life for the good of the people. 

Little Ivan was taken to a private chamber, 
where servants washed him and attired him in 
royal robes. Afterwards he followed the officers 
of state to the throne-room, where the crown was 
placed on his head. When this ceremony was 
completed, he walked out on the balcony of the 
palace before the eyes of the citizens who had 
assembled in the square beneath. Little Ivan 
looked every inch a king, and many voices 
shouted together: 

" Long live our noble Tsar! Long live 


It seemed for a time to the lad that he must 
be dreaming. But he realized at length his good 
fortune, and when he did so, he thought of his 
father and mother. He felt that he could not 
live happily unless they were beside him, so he 
called before him a gallant knight whose name 
was Luga, and spoke to him, saying: **Go to 
my native country, which is Vladimir, and salute 
the Tsar. Say I greet him, and desire above all 
things that peace should prevail between my king- 
dom and his. Ask him to favour me by permitting 
my father and mother to come here and dwell in 
my palace, because my heart yearns for them." 

io6 Russian Folk-Life 

The knight bowed before the new Tsar, and 
hastened to obey his command. Before a month 
had gone past he returned to the palace with 
Ivan's father and mother, who wondered greatly 
why they were ordered to appear before the 
mighty ruler of Muskovy. They were conducted 
to the throne-room, and to their great astonish- 
ment beheld their Ivan sitting on the throne, clad 
in rich robes, and wearing a dazzling crown upon 
his head. 

Said Ivan: ** Father, you turned me away from 
your home. Now I have brought you to mine. 
Promise me that you and my mother will dwell 
here with me for the rest of your days." 

The old man was overcome with joy, and 
wept glad tears, as did his wife also. Ivan de- 
scended from the throne and kissed them both. 
Then he bade his servants to bring them royal 
garments, so that they might be fittingly attired 
to sit at his royal table. 

Ivan grew up to be a wise and powerful ruler. 
He acquired such great wealth that he was sur- 
named **Kalita" (**the Purse"). Not only did 
he reign over Muskovy, but also in time over 
Novgorod, which had been long years without a 
Tsar, and over Vladimir, the Tsar of which had 
been driven from his throne by the Tartars be- 
cause of his folly and greed, and became an 
outcast among men. 

When Ivan had established order and peace 
throughout the united principalities of his great 

How Little Ivan became a Tsar 107 

kingdom, he did his utmost to promote trade by 
founding many fairs and marts, which yielded 
imperial duties and enriched the state. Many 
merchants came from foreign countries in Europe 
and Asia, and Russia became a vast market- 
place. A great and good Tsar was the first 
Ivan. His name will live for ever. 



I. A Friend in Need 

It was a cold and silent November night in 
the year of grace 1581, or, as the Russians then 
reckoned it,^ the year 7089, "from the creation 
of the world". The moon began to rise over 
Moscow through a purple haze, swollen and 
dulled, and of the colour of molten copper. 
Superstitious men and women watched it with 
solemn eyes, fearing it foretold the approach of 
some new calamity, so prone were they to look 
for omens of evil. Nor did their hearts grow 
lighter when at length it climbed the naked 
heaven and shone forth as clear as burnished 

The capital of Muskovy then seemed fairer 
than by day. Much of the squalor was concealed 
in shadow, and the thin coating of snow which 
had whitened roofs and battlements and frozen 
streets, lay sparkling and pure in the soft moon- 
light. High above the ridge of the Kremlin the 
gilded Cathedral domes flashed in radiant splen- 
dour, but made no appeal to the hearts of the 

^ The Julian Calendar was introduced by Peter the Great. 


Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 109 

oppressed citizens, for nigh to the stately Church 
of the Assumption and the great Cathedral of 
Michael the Archangel frowned the grim and 
massive palace of Ivan the Terrible, the tyran- 
nical Tsar who had declared to his subjects: "I 
am your god as God is mine. My throne is sur- 
rounded by archangels as is the throne of God," 

That gloomy royal abode was still kept astir 
like an uneasy conscience. The courtyard flared 
with torches, and lights twinkled from a hundred 
windows, while monks and courtiers and warriors 
jostled each other in its long corridors, continually 
passing to and fro. In a bleak chamber, gfuarded 
by lynx-eyed sentinels, Ivan Gronze sat apart, a 
wild-eyed old man, fretting with suppressed rage 
and suspicion as he received the secret reports 
of his dreaded spies and informers, who slandered 
the innocent if they could not discover the guilty. 
Although a fierce tyrant, the Tsar was at heart 
a coward. He trusted no one, and dreaded 
hourly that some fawning official would become 
his assassin. So he kept spies, to follow spies 
and informers to watch informers. In the black 
dungeons beneath the palace his manacled victims 
starved and shivered miserably, awaiting torture 
and slow death. 

Wraiths of cold mist, that had risen from the 
Moscow and Neglin rivers, crawled over stone 
battlements and across the maze of shoulder- 
ing roofs around the royal palace, assuming 
strange, distorted shapes in the moonlight. It 

no Russian Folk-Life 

seemed that night as if the ghosts of murdered 
princes and boyarins^ were returning to haunt 
lonely chambers, in which they had aforetime 
feasted and whispered treason, surrounded by the 
spies of the Tsar. 

Adjoining the Kremlin, with its quaint and 
bold array of spires and domes of Eastern and 
Western design, the walled -in Katai Gorod 
(china city) drowsed in shadow, its bazaars and 
markets deserted and silent, its river gate shut 
and strongly guarded. These two fortified en- 
closures were buffered on all sides, save the 
Moscow river front, by the bulging and mis- 
named Byelo Gorod (white city), in shape resem- 
bling a chinless human skull, which was sur- 
rounded by thick and high earthen ramparts; 
sentinels were posted at its five iron-bound oaken 
gates, which had been closed at sunset In this, 
the main part of the capital, were broad squares 
and long streets, in which commodious mansions 
shouldered wretched hovels that were cramped, 
overcrowded, and evil - smelling. This way and 
that ran narrow, twisting lanes, through which no 
stranger dared to venture even in daylight Few 
houses had stone walls, most were built of timber ; 
the homes of the poorest people were but shape- 
less heaps of dried mud and clay. Here and 
there throughout the city appeared wide, open 
spaces covered over with the charred remains of 

^A class like the English feudal barons. Also rendered in English 
*«boyars" and "boyards". 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers m 

numerous dwellings that had been burned down 
when Moscow was attacked by a Tartar army 
ten years previously. 

Beyond the outer ramparts of the capital lay 
the unprotected slobadas (suburbs). In these 
dwelt all foreigners and heretics, many of whom 
seemed to enjoy more comfort and prosperity than 
the masses in the White City, for among such 
"out -dwellers" were prosperous merchants and 
traders, who hailed from countries as far apart as 
Persia and England, Sweden and Italy. In the 
north-western quarter, known as Nemetskaya 
Slobada (**the dumb suburb"), because its occu- 
pants were unable to speak the Russian language, 
were hundreds of disconsolate Scots and a few 
Englishmen, who had been taken prisoners in the 
wars with Poland and Sweden. They had built 
for themselves a number of stone houses, as if 
they expected their sojourn to be prolonged. 
These were of characteristic Scots design, with 
stone stairways outside the walls; some fronted 
the street, others shouldered it with their gables, 
while not a few had their doors at the back, which 
were reached through narrow arched courts. 

Sandy Wood surveyed one of the litde streets 
in the moonlight and wagged his head, chuckling 
to himself ** One might think he was in Crail," 
he muttered. ** We must call this * Fife Street ', 
if the Tsar has no objections." 

He was a small wiry man with a scrubby 
grey beard, a thick short nose, and shrewd eyes, 

112 Russian Folk-Life 

one of which kept opening and shutting when 
he began to speak; his blue bonnet was worn 
tilted sideways on his head. During his lifetime 
he had followed various occupations. He had 
been a stone-mason, a sailor, a trader, and a 
soldier of fortune ; now he acted as chief architect 
of the Scots quarter of the **dumb suburb" of 

A tall, red-bearded man approached with soft 
footsteps from behind and laid a hand on his 
shoulder. "Sandy Wood," he muttered in a 
grave, deep voice, "youVe the very man I've 
been looking for." 

"That's yourself, Jeamy Lingett, is it?" said 
Sandy. " See here — have you ever noticed this?" 
He nudged his friend gleefully, and pointed down 
the street. "Does yon comer house no' remind 
you o' Bob Keith's at the west end o' the town o' 

" It does that," drawled the other. " Man, I 
thought it looked familiar." 

"That house on your left there is as like as 
can be to the one I was born in," the little man 
went on. "All that's wanted now to complete 
it is a brier hedge* and honeysuckle at the gable. 
Ah! if ye came from Crail, like me, Jeamy, 
man, ye'd ken every house in this bonnie wee 

" Doubtless, Sandy, doubtless. But I ken few 
folk in Crail other than Bob Keith and your own 
relatives, often as I've been in the town. But 

%. a 


c • 

\ ^ 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 113 

we'll have a chat about Crail some other night. 
What I want to see ye about now is o' most 
serious importance. This morning who should 
come to pay me his respects but a braw English 
gentleman, to name Sir Jerome Horsey. He's 
a great traveller in foreign lands, and is held in 
good favour by the Tsar himself. * You will not 
always be kept in this place under durance,' says 
he, * if I can help it I'll plead for you if such be 
your will,' says he, 'before his Majesty, so that 
he may be pleased to employ you all in his ser- 
vice, and spare such maintenance as you sorely 
need.' What think ye o' that now, Sandy, my 
good man?" 

"He would just waste his breath to speak on 
our account up yonder," the little man answered, 
nudging his head in the direction of the Kremlin. 
**We need expect but small mercy at the hands 
o' Ivan the Terrible." 

**Ye never can tell, Sandy; ye never can tell. 
Sir Jerome is a fair-spoken gentleman, and has 
no motive to serve other than becomes any good 

**0' his motives I'll say naught I wish him 

well, for I'm no' a man who despises the English, 

having lived among them a few years like one o' 

their own race. But this I will say. He must 

needs be cautious in approaching the terrible 

Tsar, else he'll get a share o' what was once 

given to a messenger from Poland who brought 

him a letter from some noble exile or other." 
{om) 8 

114 Russian Folk-Life 

"I've never heard o' that, man. Tell me about 

•*When ye pick up some Russian speech, as 
I've done, ye'U hear more of Ivan Gronzie 
than maybe ye'll care about I've heard it 
said that when this messenger stood up before 
him, the Tsar stuck his iron-tipped staff, which 
he keeps as sharp as a spear-point, through the 
poor fellow's right foot, and says he, leering 
wickedly, * Read oot what's written there,' says 
he ; and he left the staff sticking in the foot until 
the long letter was read to the very end." 

** Monstrous, monstrous !" groaned J eamy Lingett. 

"On another occasion," resumed Sandy, **he 
had a messenger from the King o' Sweden 
thrown naked into his wild bears' den. No later 
than yesterday, man, he turned these very bears 
loose in the White City, and sat jeering, at a 
palace window, to see the people scampering away 
like sheep from foxes. Ah, J eamy, don't speak 
about favours from Ivan Gronzie to me!" 

"Still," protested the other, "Sir Jerome told 
me he knows how to get at the right side o' him." 

" The right side o' a man who murdered his 
own son in a fit of passion?" exclaimed Sandy in- 
credulously. " Man, man, I'm wondering to hear 

" Come up-by to my house," Lingett said, "and 
speak to Sir Jerome yourself. He's promised to 
return to-night to talk matters o'er with two or 
three o' us. A friend who comes to offer a help- 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 115 

ing hand in a country like this is a friend worth 
having. Man, he's even promised to get the Tsar 
to let us build a kirk for our use." 

"Weel, that was wise-like," Sandy answered 
musingly, as he walked round the square with his 
friend. "I'm keen to try my hand at building a 
kirk. I've been thinking that o'er in my mind 
more than once o' late." 

** I'm sure, I'm sure; a kirk's much needed here." 

" I'd like to build one like St. Giles of Edin- 
burgh, in which I've sat in my day under John 
Knox, who's dead and gone these nine years back 
— God rest his soul! But that would be a big 
job. I'll just have to give ye a second Reformed 
Kirk o' Crail. It will be the best I can do for the 

**Ah! here comes none other than Sir Jerome 
himself," Lingett exclaimed, as he was about to 
open his house door. 

Sandy Wood turned round and saw riding to- 
wards him in the moonlight a dignified English 
gentleman, followed by two mounted soldiers of 
the Tsar, who acted as an escort. 

" Ha! Well met, Jeamy Lingett," Sir Jerome 
exclaimed with genial voice, dismounting nimbly. 
"Who is your friend? — a fellow-countryman, or I 
misjudge him." 

"Sandy Wood is the name he's kent by. Sir 
Jerome," Lingett answered, "and a good man and 
true ye'U find him." 

" And Scots to the marrow 0' his bones," Sandy 

ii6 Russian Folk-Life 

added, doffing his bonnet ''I'm a Scot who is 
ever well pleased to meet an Englishman face to 

** A fellow of good wit, I'll warrant you," laughed 
Sir Jerome. ** But I've not come hither this night 
to fight old battles. Let us enter your house, 
good Master Lingett, if such be your will." 

" I bid you kindly welcome, sir," Lingett said, 
with a bow, as he thrust open the door. 

Sir Jerome bowed in return, and having in- 
structed the soldiers to await his pleasure, walked 
through the low doorway, followed by the two 
Scots exiles. 

" Be seated, sir," Lingett said courteously, draw- 
ing a rough wooden chair in front of a log fire. 
" I will go round and gather a few more lads to 
meet with your Honour." 

** Let only one of my own countrymen come 
hither," Sir Jerome remarked. **The presence 
of Englishmen among you troubles you greatly." 

** They might be in worse company," said Sandy 
Wood somewhat dryly. 

" That I grant, my friend," Sir Jerome answered 
with a smile. " I make no reflection on any good 
Scotsman among you." Then his face grew grave 
again as he resumed : " What troubles me greatly 
is that the Tsar may be enraged to discover Eng- 
lishmen among his enemies, and revenge himself 
by seizing the goods and treasure of certain of 
our merchants here who owe allegfiance to Queen 
Elizabeth, For & smaller office, His Majesty, 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 117 

some eight years ago, did confiscate many thou- 
sand pounds* worth of cloth, silk, wax, fur, and 
other merchandise from an English agent, one 
Thomas Glover, and then did banish him and his 
dear wife empty out of this land," 

"Well, well; worry no more about the matter, 
Sir Jerome," said Sandy Wood. ** Your country- 
men are believed to be Scots, and Scots they may 
remain until they can return safely again to their 
native land" 

"And may they feel highly honoured thereat!" 
smiled Jerome with twinkling eyes. 

" Having myself been called an Englishman in 
foreign parts, where I've done gallant service with 
sword and hand gun," Sandy declared with a 
characteristic chuckle, "and having thus honoured 
the country o' good Queen Bess, we can call quits. 
Sir Jerome, if a few subjects o* Her Majesty must 
be let to pass themselves off here as Scots to save 
certain o' their countrymen from misfortune." 

Sir Jerome bowed, and Lingett turned away to 
summon other prisoners to the conference. The 
genial knight chatted meanwhile with Sandy. 

" You have travelled much. Master Wood. No 
doubt, like many of your countrymen, you know 
more of the Continent than of England." 

" I've traversed England from Carlisle to Lon- 
don in my day, and met with many a kindness, 
sir, at the hands of your countrymen. I've found 
them better than they're' called north o' the 

ii8 Russian Folk-Life 

** It pleases me to hear you say so. What, I 
pray you, was the occasion of your visit to 

"It was my misfortune, sir, to show my native 
land a pair o' clean heels. You'll understand I 
belong to the Reformed Kirk, and Ive sat under 
John Knox in my day, I have that Every time 
I heard him preach I said to myself: * With every 
word you say, reverend sir, I agree and will hold 
by/ . . . But I'm a man o' contrary thoughts, and 
have aye kept a soft place in my heart for our 
own Queen Mary, poor dear lady! Chancing to 
be in Glasgow when she was trying to hold her 
own against her son's friends, I fought on her side 
at the battle o' Langside. . . . We were scattered 
like chaff before the wind, and I fled to England 
with others that followed her; and no' being a 
man of any account, was let go scot-free there, as 
the saying is. From London I crossed to Hol- 
land, and then made my way to Sweden, where 
I took arms to fight against the Russians, finding 
nothing better to do. In a skirmish I was taken 
prisoner with the rest o' the lads. So that's how 
I've wandered all the way from Glasgow to 
Moskwa, where ye find me now." 

" Lingett tells me that you are making yourself 
at home." 

"That's so; as far as it'3 possible here. I've 
shown the lads how to build a few stone houses 
to keep them from dying o' weariness and 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 119 

•* And you wander about freely, too. When I 
called this forenoon Lingett could not find you 
anywhere. Have you ventured to enter the 
White City without leave of the Tsar? To do 
so is a perilous undertaking, I warn you." 

" I've been out and in now and then, but it's 
no' a place with much attraction to a man who 
has seen better. Most o' the time I'm away from 
here I spend on the Moskwa river." 

" Fishing, I suppose?" 

**What else?" Sandy cocked his head side- 
ways and folded his arms. " Fishing, as you 
say," he chuckled, "but no' for fish, for I can't 
endure these Russian fish at all." 

" And what fish you ? I pray you to tell me," 
asked Sir Jerome with a smile. 

"Silver and gold— rings, brooches, ear-rings, 
crucifixes, and such -like," Sandy explained. 
" There's a fortune in that river for a man who 
can work a drag-net, I tell ye. As you'll maybe 
ken, thousands and thousands o' the Moskwa folk 
were drowned in the river when the Tartars came 
and set the city on fire. They fled from their 
houses with all their valuables, and pressed through 
the streets in. crowds like sheep without a shep- 
herd, the Tsar Ivan having taken flight, and those 
that did not drown themselves of their own free 
will were forced o'er the river bank." 

" It was a lamentable spectacle," Sir Jerome 
said; "and has been fully described to me by 
eye-witnesses. Men and women were wedged fast 

I20 Russian Folk-Life 

in the streets trying to reach the gates, and some 
began to walk over the heads of others until dire 
confusion reigned and large numbers were trodden 
to death. How many thousands perished by fire, 
in the press, and by drowning has never been 
righdy computed. I've heard it said the victims 
numbered 8cx5,ooo/' 

"God pity us all!" murmured Sandy. "No 
wonder the river bed is strewn with human bones 
and valuables. You should come with me some 
day when I'm working my drag-net and see 
what's to be seen for yourself" 

" I have already dragged there as you have 
done, and was somewhat the better for the fish- 
ing," Sir Jerome said laughingly. " But here 
come our friends." 

Lingett entered the house, followed by seven 
men, each of whom he introduced to the knight, 
beginning with his countryman, " Roger Wyatt, 
late of London city." 

"Wyatt won't do for a prisoner who is sup- 
posed to be a Scot," Sandy Wood chuckled, " we 
must call him Mac Watt." 

"This," Lingett said, as the next man ad- 
vanced, " is Master Alastair Grigor, a Highland 
gentleman, sir." 

"As we know well," Sandy said, "because he 
talks the Gaelic language in his sleep and sings 
doleful songs in it when he's longing for bonnie 

Lingett gave the names of the others as 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 121 

"Andrew Lermont, Gilbert Keith, and Willie 

"They're very poor masons," was Sandys 
comment, "but good fighters one and all" 

Sir Jerome bade all the prisoners be seated, 
and spoke, saying: "I have come here, as my 
friend and yours, good Master Lingett will have 
stated, with great concern regarding your wel- 
fare. Being conversant and familiar in the Tsar's 
Court, I would fain plead for favours on your 
behalf. If that you are so willing, I will en- 
deavour to procure for you abundance of food 
and clothing and other favours, and also per- 
mission to build a church, so that you may meet 
for divine service each Sabbath day, and to pro- 
cure a learned and preaching minister after your 
Lutheran profession. But first I must ask you 
to allow me to inform the Tsar that you are 
willing to serve him on the battlefield, as you are 
well fitted to do, being soldiers of fortune. I 
am fully confident that you would display great 
valour against His Majesty's enemies." 

"Are you willing, lads, to serve the Tsar, so 
that we may be relieved of our misfortunes in 
this sad place.**" asked Lingett in a solemn voice. 

" You can count on me for one," declared Sandy 
Wood. "Although I'm getting old, I'd like to 
strike a blow against those Krim Tartars,^ who 
burned old Moskwa and massacred thousands o' 
men, women, and bairns." 

^ Tartars of the Crimea.- 

122 Russian Folk-Life 

"We are all ready and willing," declared the 
other Scots, **and speak also for our fellows." 

"And you, my friend, Mr. MacWyatt?" Sir 
Jerome asked with a pleasing bow. 

" For myself and my countrymen, I offer ready 
assent," answered Wyatt 

"We're all of one mind when there's fighting 
to be done," declared Sandy Wood. 

"His Majesty, Tsar Ivan, will find us all at 
his service," Lingett assured Sir Jerome, "if so 
be it he needs our help against his enemies, but 
we'd rather be sent against the Krim Tartars 
than against Poles or Swedes, in whose armies 
are many of our own countrymen." 

Sir Jerome bowed again. " Meanwhile," he 
said, taking farewell, " I counsel you to behave 
well and show courtesy and friendship to all 
Russians, so that no bad feeling may be raised 
up against you. May you soon have less cause 
to be doleful, and to mourn, as you now do, the 
loss of goods, friends, and country! I pray God 
to bless you, and bid you all good night." 

11. The "New Demons '* 

After leaving the Scots, Sir Jerome, mightily 
pleased with himself, rode towards a spacious 
mansion in the north-eastern slobada, where he 
met with Mr. John Logan, the agent of an Eng- 
lish trading company which had obtained special 
privileges from the Tsar. 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 123 

"Ah! Sir Jerome, and have you found these 
adventurers willing to follow your advice?" Logan 
asked with unconcealed anxiety. 

** Fear you not on their account," Sir Jerome 
assured him. " By my troth! they are valiant 
fellows, anxious indeed to serve the Tsar if so he 
desires, being aweary of their sad condition." 

Then he related aJl that had passed, praising 
Jeamy Lingett whom they had chosen as their 
leader and dwelling with amusement on Sandy 
Wood's sayings and doings. "If that knave had 
the power, and sufficient length of days withal," 
Sir Jerome laughed, "he would transform Mus- 
kovy into a second Scotland." 

" I greatly fear," sighed Logan, " that the 
Tsar will suspect our motive in this matter, and, 
refusing the services of these men, wreak his 
vengeance upon us, because a few Englishmen 
are among the Scots prisoners, by confiscating 
goods and money. We have observed signs of 
his growing displeasure of late." 

Sir Jerome shrugged his shoulders impatiently. 
" Be not surfeited with doubts, gopd Master 
Logan," he urged. " Methinks I guess what 
runs in your mind. You have heard that our 
noble lady Queen Elizabeth, whom God protect 
and prosper, has refused with due courtesy to 
become the eighth wife of Ivan Gronzie. You 
expect him on that account to be ready to perse- 
cute you on slight provocation. I grant it is 
possible. But he is not likely to know now that 

124 Russian Folk-Life 

any of these prisoners are our countrymen. Be- 
sides, I have good cause for believing that His 
Majesty inclines well to favour England in 
these days." 

*' Glad indeed would I be to think so. But I 
do not share your optimism^ Sir Jerome." 

•*What I tell you must be kept secret," the 
Knight whispered. **Were you to repeat my 
words to the merchants here, you might receive 
the close and unwelcome attention of the Tsar's 
spies, and perhaps suffer loss of liberty. As you 
know well, the Tsar lives in constant dread of 
revolution. Like a good general, who ever pre- 
pares for retreat even when advancing victori- 
ously, he has solicited from Queen Elizabeth a 
promise to grant him an asylum in England 
should his ung^teful subjects render it neces- 
sary for him to abdicate. His wish has been 
granted in a solemn and binding treaty by Her 
Majesty, whereat he is* well pleased." 

Logan uttered an exclamation of surprise. 
"Revolution," he declared, ** would bring ruin 
to my company. Alas! I pray that it is not 
now imminent" 

**Who knows, good Master Pessimist," Sir 
Jerome answered somewhat testily, "but revolu- 
tion might cause you to prosper greatly.^ But 
I do not apprehend such a development. The 
spirit of Muskovy is too severely crushed, and 
there does not remain alive in these melancholy 
times a serious opponent to His Majesty, who. 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 125 

although he liveth in constant fear, daily dis- 
covers treasons real and imaginary, and spends 
much time in torturing and execution. The first 
great change likely to occur is his death, for he 
grows exceedingly frail, and is much comforted 
to be attended by Dr. Robert Jacobs of London, 
who at his request has been sent to him by 
Queen Elizabeth, for which further favour he is 
disposed to harbour as much gratitude as is 
possible in such a man." 

Logan seemed somewhat reassured. " I pray 
that success may attend your efforts. Sir Jerome," 
he said. ** Still, my mind will not feel at ease 
until you have secured some definite promise 
from the Tsar regarding the prisoners. I dread 
the wrath of Ivan Gronzie. He is a difficult man 
to conciliate, living as he does in an atmosphere of 
treachery and suspicion, and cunning withal, as he 
has need to be. May he not suspect your motive 
in this matter and bring ruin to our hopes! " 

IIL How the Tartars were Confounded 

On the following forenoon Sir Jerome Horsey 
was granted an audience with the Tsar in a small 
private apartment of the palace. There was no 
one else present save Dr. Jacobs, who was a 
sharp-featured, black-bearded man, with immobile 
face and brown inscrutable eyes. 

The English Knight found that His Majesty 
had changed greatly sinc^ last be bad seen 

126 Russian Folk-Life 

him. His body was shrunken and bent, and 
although his face seemed more ferocious than 
ever it was shrivelled prematurely and deathly 
pale ; his ears and lips were tinged with blue and 
his breathing had become laboured; his eyes 
moved restlessly, casting furtive glances hither 
and thither as if he entertained fear of sudden 
attack; he had grown almost completely bald, 
and a few rugged grey patches were all that 
remained of his once luxuriant beard. 

" I sleep badly," he complained querulously in 
answer to Sir Jerome's courteous enquiry regard- 
ing his health. ** Evil dreams torment me; they 
are produced by my magic-working enemies. Yet 
I pray daily for the welfare of the souls of such 
as have been found guilty of treasonable plottings 
and transferred to the judgment place of the 
Eternal, there to answer for their sins. Withal, 
I concern myself greatly regarding the affairs of 
state, constant wars against hostile nations, and 
the welfare of my poor people. My health has 
consequently suffered greatly. I have grown old 
before my time." 

Having thus delivered himself, the Tsar asked 
Sir Jerome many questions regarding his travels 
and also about England, in which country he took 
a keen and special interest. A passing reference 
to the Scots enabled the diplomatic Knight to 
say something regarding the prisoners in the 
" Dumb Suburb". 

Tsar Ivan frowned darkly. "These Scots", he 


Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 127 

exclaimed with angry voice, **are among my 
deadliest and most persistent enemies. Of them I 
have complained to Queen Elizabeth, that eminent 
lady, who promises much but does little, so that in 
return for the favours I have conferred upon her 
rich merchants, she might undertake to hold them 
in check. But she has answered that those Scots 
who reach my empire enter it through Sweden 
and Poland, and are therefore beyond her control. 
She has, however, many war-ships, as sundry 
travellers have informed me. Can she not, there- 
fore, prevent the Scots from crossing the seas 
over which her sway is complete? But I have 
been told also that she cares not to offend them, 
as a union between the nations of England and 
Scotland is pending, if not already accomplished 
in secret" 

Sir Jerome was startled by this sudden out- 
burst, but, preserving perfect self-control, made 
answer, saying: "Your Majesty, these Scots have 
proved even more troublesome to England than 
to Muskovy. For centuries they have waged 
warfare against my countrymen, raiding and pil- 
laging prosperous districts and destroying what 
they could not carry away. They dwell in remote 
parts among barren hills and on storm-lashed 
coasts, and thus protected by nature have defied 
the might of our arms. Their poor circumstances 
and hardy manners of life have stirred in them a 
spirit of adventure, and since the strengthening of 
England's defences, many have crossed the seas to 

128 Russian Folk-Life 

seek fortunes in distant lands as traders and mer- 
cenary soldiers. These Scots, your Majesty, are 
indeed a nation of adventurous and warlike 
peoples, and, as I know well from what I have 
observed in my travels, are ever ready to serve 
any Christian prince in return for good mainten- 
ance and pay. This your Majesty may prove," 
Sir Jerome added with a shrug of his shoulders, 
"if it pleases you to grant the dearest wish of 
those prisoners in the * Dumb Suburb ' by em- 
ploying them and providing clothing and arms, 
so that they may display their valour against your 
mortal enemies, the Krim Tartars. Since enter- 
ing Muskovy, they have learned to hate fiercely 
these barbarians, having obtained knowledge re- 
garding their methods of warfare, their oppres- 
sions and their burnings, and their hatred of 
Christian peoples." 

Ivan Gronzie grunted impatiently, tapping his 
bony fingers on a small table beside him. 

** But what of this union between your nation 
and that of the Scots .^" he asked in querulous 

" It has not yet been accomplished, your 
Majesty; nor is it imminent When it comes, 
however, the result may prove pleasing to you, 
for the Scots will then find it profitable, as do my 
countrymen, to win your good graces by exem- 
plary conduct and faithful dealing." 

The Tsar moved restlessly in his chair, his face 
betraying conflicting emotions, After a silence 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 129 

of many minutes' duration he remarked, as if 
speaking to himself, " I have need of valiant 
soldiers." He tugged his beard and cast furtive 
glances now and again at Sir Jerome, who pre- 
served a placid and respectful demeanour, having 
spoken as one entirely disinterested and sincerely 
anxious to smooth the Tsar's difficulties in dealing 
with his enemies. 

At length Ivan gave his decision, half-heartedly 
it might be, but yet not without evidence that he 
had been impressed by the courtly Knight's infor- 
mation and suggestions: ''I will consider this 
matter", he said, "more fully at a later time. 
That the Scots are valiant I know full well, and 
it may be wise to dispose of them in a manner 
which will prove profitable to my empire if that 
they can be trusted, for no punishment I may 
inflict, as experience has shown, seems sufficient to 
deter their nation from giving aid to my enemies 
west and north, who show me no gratitude for 
protecting them against Tartar inroads. Were I 
to ally myself with these barbarians, our joint 
armies could achieve the conquest of the whole 

He paused, for a recurring fit of wrath caused 
him to breathe with difficulty. 

" I thank you, Sir Jerome Horsey," he con- 
tinued after an interval, " for what you have told 
me regarding these Scots prisoners. But how 
comes it that you are so well acquainted with 
their intentions and desires?" 

(0811) 9 

130 Russian Folk-Life 

A cunning smile overspread his face, as, grasp- 
ing the arms of his chair, he bent forward, gazing 
keenly in the Knight's face. 

" Your Majesty," Sir Jerome answered promptly 
and blandly, ** I heard such good reports from 
English merchants who enjoy your favour and 
hospitality, regarding your treatment of these 
Scots, that I paid them a visit It is my desire 
to convey to Queen Elizabeth a full and accurate 
account of your leniency and compassion towards 
them, and by doing so to thwart in their ill inten- 
tions those who endeavour to poison her heart 
against your Majesty." 

The Tsar smiled icily and seemed satisfied. 
"I have trusted you before. Sir Jerome," he said, 
** and proved your veracity. Why, then, should I 
not trust you again .^ When you return to Eng- 
land, convey my greetings to your exalted Queen, 
and say it would become her to convey my inten- 
tion to the Scots King regarding these prisoners, 
so that he may show me some gratitude by pre- 
venting his subjects from giving aid to my 
most jealous and ungrateful enemies." 

Sir Jerome bowed. "With your Majesty's 
permission," said he, " I would fain visit these 
Scots prisoners once again, so that I may counsel 
them to be faithful and obedient to your com- 

"So be it," Tsar Ivan grunted, as he rose 
abruptly to signify that the interview had come to 
an end. 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 131 

Sir Jerome rode in high spirits towards the 
" Dumb Suburb " through a haze of falling snow, 
and intimated to Lingett that His Majesty was 
impressed favourably by the prisoners' offer of 
military service. He then hastened to meet with 
Mr. Logan, the English agent, who expressed 
great satisfaction because the Tsar had made no 
remark regarding the few Englishmen among the 
Scots prisoners. 

Ere Sir Jerome departed /towards the coast, 
so as to obtain a passage homeward in an 
English vessel, he learned/with satisfaction that 
the Tsar had arranged to iSupply the prisoners in 
the **Dumb Suburb" wim daily allowances of 
food and drink, and with\ clothing, horses, and 
fodder, swords, hand-guns, ^nd pistols. 

Jeamy Lingett came to bid him farewell. 
"Well long remember your kindness, sir," he 
exclaimed, **and will consider it an honour to 
prove to you, in God's good time, that you have 
earned our gratitude, and, as we hope also will be 
the case, the gratitude also of Tsar Ivan Gronzie. 
Our lads, whom you found poor enough and sad 
enough, are now cheerful and well favoured. 
They long, one and all, to strike a blow against 
the heathenish Krim Tartars, who have dealt 
sorely indeed with the Russian peasantry in their 
diabolic raids." 

** I have written His Majesty," Sir Jerome said 
in parting, ** advising him to grant you permission 
to build a church." 

132 Russian Folk-Life 

"God will reward you for that," Lingett ex- 
claimed with fervour. " May He protect you on 
your journey, and bring you back safely to us in 
His good time!" 

Not until summer had smoothed the seas and 
made beautiful hill and plain once again did Sir 
Jerome Horsey return to Moscow. Being the 
bearer of a private letter from Queen Elizabeth 
to the Tsar, and sundry other documents of great 
import, he tarried nowhere on his way, but rode 
straight to the royal palace accompanied by armed 
men who had been sent to meet him. 

He found Tsar Ivan in better health and good 
spirits. The royal letter seemed to please him 
mightily. Having read it twice over, he turned 
to Sir Jerome and said, ** Doubtless you have 
heard of the doings of these Scots, my faithful 

** Rumours have reached me, your Majesty," 
Sir Jerome answered, ** and these are of favour- 
able character. I trust they are well founded." 

** My gratitude to you is unbounded, Sir 
Jerome," exclaimed His Majesty with some 
warmth. ** But for your advice I should never 
have employed these valiant soldiers. They have 
stricken a sore and staggering blow against my 
worst enemies, the Krim Tartars. Twelve hun- 
dred Scots, armed with pistols and hand-guns, 
have done better than twelve thousand Russians 
with short bows and arrows. When, in battle, 

Tsar Ivan and the Scots Soldiers 133 

the Tartar hosts saw their horses falling before 
invisible bullets, and their ranks mowed down 
like barley by a sickle, they stared with terror at 
the Scots and cried out, * Away, away with those 
new demons and their thundering puffs!' and then 
broke and fled in dire confusion." 

The Tsar gurgled a hollow laugh in his throat, 
and repeated over and over again what the 
affrighted Krim Tartars had exclaimed. 

** By my soul," he declared, ** these new demons 
of mine will receive fitting reward," 

That evening Sir Jerome visited the '* Dumb 
Suburb" and met with Lingett, who had been 
promoted to the rank of General, and Sandy 
Wood, who still bubbled over with pawky humour. 

" What think ye o' Jeamy Lingett.^" he chuckled. 
"He's now a Russian general, and is getting a 
braw estate to himself, although his father was 
just a plain sailorman in Aberdeen, and he himself 
never anything above the skipper o* a leaky sloop. 
There's Lermont, too, and Highland Grigor. 
They both hacked out long lanes through the 
Tartar army, so they're getting estates as well as 
Jeamy Lingett In time they'll a' three have 
coughs and sneezes after their names, and be kent 
among the big folk as Lingettovitch, Grigorvitch, 
Lermontov, and " 

"And what of yourself, good Master Wood.^ 
Have you won a sneeze or a cough?" smiled 
Sir Jerome. 

" No, and I want neither the one or the other," 

134 Russian Folk-Life 

Sandy made answer, " Vm taking my pay- 
ment in good red gold and white silver. Being 
old and near by wi' it, IVe got permission to 
return home to bonnie Scodand, but I'm no' going 
to leave the lads until the new kirk is finished." 

"So you have secured permission to build a 

** We have that, Sir Jerome, thanks to yourself, 
and we'll ne'er forget ye for all your kindness to 
us. If you've nothing better to do, come down 
by and see our bonnie wee kirk. It's as like as 
can be the Reformed Kirk in my native town 
o' Crail." 



I. The Plot 

Snow was falling thinly in the gathering dark- 
ness on a chilly evening of eariy winter in the 
year 1716, when a traveller, who rode a great 
black horse, drew up before a small village inn 
on the highway which leads from St. Petersburg 
(Petrograd) to Moscow. Dismounting with a 
sigh of relief, he shook himself like a dog when it 
leaps from a pool, to get rid of the sheets of snow 
that enveloped his shoulders and neck. He was 
a nimble man of medium stature and muscular 
build, with kindly brown eyes that relieved the 
stem lines of face; icicles clung to his pointed 
black beard, and his eyebrows were white with 

"Welcome home again, Petrushka Petrovitch!" 
exclaimed the stout and jovial innkeeper who 
greeted him pleasantly at the doorway. "What 
a stranger you are! It is good to see you once 
more in your native village, where the memory of 
your saintly father, the priest, is still held in 

"I thank you, Aleksyey Nikolaevitch," the 


136 Russian Folk-Life 

traveller answered quietly. A groom came for- 
ward to lead his panting horse to the stables, and 
the traveller entered the inn stamping his feet, 
which were benumbed with cold. 

"Whence come you, Petrushka?" asked the 
innkeeper, whose small grey eyes twinkled with 
good humour. 

** From St Petersburg." 

** The great new city with the half-foreign name! 
Travellers tell me that * burg * is the German word 
for 'gorod'." 

Petrushka threw off his fur coat " I need food 
and drink," he said, **and would sleep here to- 

" My daughter Sonya will feed you well. Sit 
down beside the stove. You are half-frozen. . . . 
Ah! you are a fortunate man, Petrushka. You 
have acquired much learning. You have also 
seen St. Petersburg. I hear the new capital 
is the most wonderful city in the world. Some 
day I must pay it a visit" 

Petrushka smiled. ** You have grown stouter, 
my friend," he said. ** Hard travelling in this 
weather would reduce your weight" 

" Tell me something of which I have no know- 
ledge," laughed the innkeeper. ** Tell me about 
St Petersburg. They say it grows like a mush- 


" The streets are now lit with lamps each night, 
just like Paris. What do you think of that, 
Aleksyey Nikolaevitch?" 

Fighting the Wolves 137 

"Wonderful! wonderful! It must be a sight 
indeed. But on stormy nights the lamps will all 
be blown out." 

** Lanterns protect them, and they burn well in 
all weathers. You have no idea how cheerful 
they look. Withal, they are a great convenience. 
One can move about the streets now as safely by 
night as by day." 

"Nor have any fear of thieves, eh?" 

" None whatever. Besides, the new Imperial 
police officers are everywhere — hundreds of them." 

"There is one here, Petrushka — in your own 
peaceable native village. Think of that! He 
stalks about as if he were the Tsar himself. When 
he enters my inn, you might think it belonged to 
him. But do not let us speak about him. The 
thought of the fellow makes my gorge rise. What 
about the Tsar himself.^ Have you seen him of 

"His face is as familiar to me as is your own. 
One meets him everywhere in St Petersburg. . . . 
But what delays Sonya? Has she forgotten me? 
I am as hungry as a wolf, my friend." 

"Sonya, Sonya," called die innkeeper, "have 
you fallen asleep?" 

" I am coming, father," the girl made answer 
pleasantly as she bustled into the room, carrying 
a steaming bowl of soup and a loaf of bread which 
she set down on a table. Petrushka at once 
began to partake heartily of the first meal he had 
had since early morning. 

138 Russian Folk-Life 

"I have been told," the innkeeper said from 
beside the stove, ''that the Tsar has been given 
new tides by the Senate. He is now called * Peter 
the Great*. A Tsar who has built a great new 
city which bears his own name is worthy indeed 
of being called ' Great'." 

** He has also been declared * Emperor of all 
Russia' and 'Father of his country*," added 
Petrushka over his soup. 

" There has never been such a Tsar," the inn- 
keeper went on. "Still, although he is called 
•Father of his country', many think he inclines 
too much to favour foreigners and to imitate 
foreign manners and customs. Most of his great 
officials are foreigners. . . . Are you still in the 
service of the foreig^n general, Petrushka? I 
cannot remember his curious name." 

"General Gordon," Petrushka reminded him. 

" Yes, yes, Gordon — a name that trips on one's 
tongue! No doubt he has good cause to be loyal to 
Tsar Peter. He has grown wealthy in Russia. 
No doubt he loves Russia much better now than 
his native land." 

Sonya entered with a plate of meat, which 
Petrushka proceeded to devour with relish. 

" Where is General Gordon at present?" asked 
the innkeeper. 

" Fighting in Poland," Petrushka answered. 
" But don't imagine, Aleksyey, that he remains in 
Russia because he desires to. . . . Shut the door," 
he added in a whisper, " I have something to tell 

Fighting the Wolves 139 

you in secret regarding him— the something which 
brings me here this evening." 

The innkeeper closed the door. ** Come and 
sit beside me," Petrushka said. 

Aleksyey dearly loved a secret, and smiled 
expectantly as he drew in a chair, sat down, placed 
his elbows on the table, and propped his chin on 
his folded hands. 

" General Gordon," Petrushka explained, " has 
long desired to return to his native land." 

* * Where is that land ? What name does it bear ? " 

"It is a great island in the west One part is 
called Scotland and the other part is called Eng- 

"An island with two names. How strange 1" 

"The Tsar has forbidden my master to leave 
Russia, and he remains in the royal service much 
against his will." 

" You astonish me! Ah! this is news indeed." 

" The General would have returned home long 
since had he but himself to consider. It is not 
difficult for any man to escape from Russia. But 
he has a wife and a family. He cannot go away 
and leave them behind. The Tsar would thrust 
them in prison so as to compel him to return." 

" Peter is a hard taskmaster. I have heard 
that said of him. " 

"Listen to me, Aleksyey Nikolaevitch. You 
are my kinsman and I need your aid. Promise 
to help me in the task I have undertaken. You 
will be well rewarded, I assure yoa" 

I40 Russian Folk-Life 

The innkeeper's eyes sparkled with satisfaction. 
He loved a secret, as has been said, but what he 
loved most of all was money. He seemed to hear 
the clinking of gold in Petrushka's voice. 

" If it is safe to help you, I shall help you, my 
friend," he said, rubbing his hands together glee- 

" The General, as I told you," Petrushka went 
on, ''is at present in Poland. He has no desire 
to return to Russia. If his wife can leave Moscow 
with her three daughters and join him in Poland, 
my master will proceed to Dantzig and take ship 
to his native land." 

** I cannot see how I can help you in this matter, 
Petrushka," exclaimed the innkeeper, with a ring 
of disappointment in his voice. ** Moscow lies 
many versts distant from here, as you well know. " 

'* Be patient and listen," Petrushka said. ** You 
probably do not know that one of the General's 
daughters is at present residing in your neigh- 
bourhood. She is the guest of Colonel Maykov's 
wife. I wish you to send Sonya to bring her 
here to me to-morrow morning. For this service 
I will pay you two golden roubles." 

The innkeeper pondered for a moment Then 
he said: "What if I get into trouble with the 
police over the matter.*^ . How can I rid myself 
of blame if I am asked awkward questions.*^" His 
face wrinkled with anxiety. 

" I will give Sonya a letter to deliver to the 
General's daughter, iti which she will be asked to 

Fighting the Wolves 141 

come here, so that I may hand her an important 
package," explained Petrushka. 

"What do you intend to do after she comes 

"Ask no more questions, Aleksyey Nikolae- 
vitch, for the less you know the less you will have 
to answer for. AH you need ever say is that I 
came here as a traveller, and gave you a letter to 
deliver to General Gordon's daughter." 

The innkeeper nodded his head, but made no 
response. His lips were pursed and hard. 

" Must I go myself?" Petrushka asked impa- 
tiently. "Are two golden roubles as naught to 

"Say four roubles, and perhaps I may take 
the risk " 

"Well, ril say three," Petrushka answered. 
He rose to his feet, having finished his meal. 
" If you ask for more, Aleksyey Nikolaevitch, I 
must go outside and find someone else who is 
willing to do this service for a few kopecks." 

" Don't be so impatient, Petrushka. Sit down. 
You must not leave my house to-night. It is now 
fully three years since we have met, and I have 
often longed for your company." 

" First of all, let this matter be settled," 
Petrushka insisted. "Will you send Sonya with 
the letter on payment of three golden roubles?" 

** You are a hard man, but I will not reproach 
you. Sonya will deliver the letter as you de- 


142 Russian Folk-Life 

Aleksyey spoke as if he felt he was making the 
worst of a bargain. 

The two men shook hands to confirm the 
agreement ** Now make yourself comfortable, 
Petrushka," the innkeeper said softly. ** Tell me 
all about your travels and all about the great new 
city of St Petersburg. I can't understand why 
your master wants to live on an island instead of 
at Tsar Peter's great Court" 

" I said he was fighting in Poland at present," 
smiled Petrushka. 

** But wars don't last for ever. When victories 
are won, great generals return to the capital to 
be honoured and made rich by the Tsar." 

Petrushka shrugged his shoulders. ** My master 
would prefer to fight his own country's batdes. 
There is trouble brewing for the island kingdom 
in these days." 

** How much you know, my friend! Living 
here in a village, I never hear aught of foreign 
countries. What has gone wrong in this island 
with two names?" 

" It is a long story." 

"What of that? The night is young as yet 
I am curious to hear why the General desires 
to leave Russia." 

" I will tell you as much as I know. . . . You 
have heard about Spain?" 

" That is the country that lies beyond France. 
Oh yes! I have heard about it Indeed, I once 
saw a Spaniard He was a very dark man, with 

Fighting the Wolves 143 

flashing black eyes, and he spoke Russian vilely," 

**Well, Cardinal Alberoni, prime minister of 
King Philip of Spain, has been plotting with 
Baron Goertz, of Sweden, to form a great alliance 
against the island kingdom. Baron Goertz is en- 
deavouring to bring about a reconciliation between 
King Charles of Sweden and Tsar Peter, so as to 
form a great alliance with purpose to overthrow 
the English king, whose name is George, and 
bring France under the control of Spain." 

" Why should Tsar Peter trouble himself about 
the island ruler?" 

"Well you may ask. It seems that another 
prince claims the right to reign over the island 
kingdom. He has many followers, who are called 
Jacobites. Some of them, indeed, are in Tsar 
Peter's service." 

"And is General Gordon one of these Jacobites.^" 

" No. He owns allegiance to King George. 
From what I have heard, he desires to return 
home, being a valiant and accomplished soldier, 
to take part in the great war if it ever breaks out" 

" Supposing Tsar Peter supports the rival 
prince of the island kingdom, your master will 
then fight against our country, eh?" 

"It is unlikely the Tsar will interfere in this 
matter. The islanders have a strong navy. In- 
deed, they are supreme on the seas. No single 
Power would dare to oppose them. That is why 
the Swedes and the Spaniards desire to obtain 
help from the Tsar." 

144 Russian Folk-Life 

•* Let them fight their own battles, say I. Why 
should Russia help Sweden? Are we not at war 
with the Swedes at present?" 

"We are. Tsar Peter has no greater rival 
than King Charles of Sweden. Baron Goertz, 
however, is endeavouring to arrange a peace 
betwixt our country and his own. He proposes 
that the Tsar should then seize part of Prussia, 
and that King Charles should take possession 
of Norway." 

"How did you come to know all this, 

" I have heard my master speak of the great 
conspiracy. He desires to hasten to his native 
land, so as to warn King George of the peril 
which threatens him." 

" It is but natural that he should think first of 
his own country. May he achieve his purpose, 
Petrushka! He is a most excellent man. Each 
time he came here he placed in my hand a golden 
rouble. Besides, he has been a good master to 
you, my friend." 

" I am ready to lay down my life in his service," 
Petrushka answered. " If it is God's will, I shall 
accompany him to the island kingdom to strike a 
blow against the Jacobites, who are his enemies." 

"Hush, Petrushka!" exclaimed the innkeeper. 
" Do not gpeak so loud. The police-officer may 
be listening at the door. Let us talk of other 
matters. What you have told me fills my head 
with confusion. I would rather hear about the 



• •• • 

• •• 

« * • • 

• • *• 

• t • • « 

• •• « • 

I » • • 

• •• • 

Fighting the Wolves 145 

great new city of St. Petersburg, the streets of 
which are lit with bright lamps every night." 

Petrushka smiled, and called for kvass. Then 
he proceeded to satisfy the innkeeper's curiosity 
regarding Tsar Peter's great new capital, telling 
of its wonderful buildings and wide streets, its 
shops and factories and shipbuilding yards, and 
of the skilled foreign workmen who were instruct- 
ing Russians how to build large ships for war and 
trade. He then related many anecdotes regarding 
Tsar Peter's visits to foreign countries. 

"At Saardam, in Holland," Petrushka said, 
"he went about in disguise, and, assuming the 
name of Peter Timmerman, hired himself as a 
workman to a shipbuilder, and lived on the wages 
he earned in a most wretched hovel." 

"What folly!" exclaimed the innkeeper. "It 
was not seemly that a Tsar should live like a 

" Tsar Peter desired to learn the art on which 
he hoped to found Russia's future greatness. 
Afterwards he went to England, where King 
William presented him with a beautiful yacht, 
which I have myself seen. In the island kingdom 
he worked also in a dockyard until he became 
skilled in the craft of shipbuilding. Then he 
applied himself to the study of various trades and 
manufactures in which the island people have 
great skill. Ere he returned to Russia he visited 
Germany and Austria and Italy. No living man 
has travelled more than Tsar Peter." 

(08a) to 

146 Russian Folk-Life 

It was long after midnight before Petrushka 
had ceased talking, and he and the innkeeper, 
yawning heavily, bade each other good night and 
went to bed. 

II. How Marya was Carried Away 

Early next forenoon Sonya, who had set out 
from the inn immediately after breakfast, returned 
from Colonel Maykov's house, bringing Marya, the 
Generals daughter, with her. The girl was slim 
and fair-haired, with rosy cheeks and soft blue 

"How you have grown, Marya!" Petrushka 
exclaimed. ''It is pleasant to see you once again. 
I have brought you a birthday present from your 
father. How old are you now?" 

" Fourteen years," answered Marya, whose eyes 
sparkled when Petrushka handed her a package 
containing an English doll. 

"You must not open the package until you 
return to Colonel Maykov's house," Petrushka 
told her. 

" How kind of you to bring it to mel" ex- 
claimed the girl. 

The man smiled and patted her cheeks. Then 
turning to a groom he said : " Bring my horse 
from the stable. I must depart at once." 

"Oh! not at once, ^ surely," protested Marya. 
"Madame Maykov has asked me to invite you 
to her house. She desires to speak with you on 

Fighting the Wolves 147 

'a matter of great importance*. These are the 
very words she used." 

" I have to hasten back to St. Petersburg as 
quickly as possible," Petrushka said " But I 
must tarry here a little if Madame Maykov bids 
me to visit her. She may have some message 
which she desires me to carry to her husband. 
Will I take you back on horseback, Marya? 
You can sit up behind me on the saddle." 

"That will be delightful," answered the girl, 
little suspecting Petrushka's intention, for he had 
planned to carry her away to the next post 
station where he could hire a sledge and con- 
vey her to Moscow. 

Having paid his bill to the innkeeper, Petrushka 
leapt into the saddle, and then leaning over lifted 
up Marya, who sat behind him clasping her arms 
about his waist 

" I shall bid you farewell when you return," 
the innkeeper said. 

" So be it," answered Petrushka with a smile, 
as, tossing a coin to the groom, he urged his 
horse onward and rode away. 

When he had ridden a little over a verst, he 
reached the roadway leading to Colonel Maykov's 
house, but turned his horse towards the right. 

"You are taking the wrong road," Marya said 
with a laugh. 

"Hold on tightly," answered Petrushka. " We 
will ride on to the next post station. You must 

b<j in Moscow tQ-morrow morning, for your mother 

148 Russian Folk-Life 

and sisters are to leave at once for Poland to join 
your father." 

" But I should first bid good-bye to Madame 
Maykov," Marya pleaded. 

" She must not know you are leaving, little 
girl. I am carrying out your father's orders. 
We must escape from Russia at once, else your 
mother and your sisters and you yourself may be 
thrust into prison." 

"Into prison ? Why " 

" Hush! I will explain everything later. The 
post station is only five versts farther on." 

It was a gloomy cheerless day. As the road 
opened out from a tree-clad valley lying between 
low hills, and turned to cross a wide barren plain 
with frozen marshes, the icy wind confronted them 
in full blast as if the tempest doors of the north 
had been suddenly flung open. Soon Marya's 
teeth began to chatter, and at length she com- 
plained, in a broken voice, that she was unable 
to endure the journey. Petrushka drew rein and 
slipped down from the saddle. 

" Be brave, little girl," he said cheerfully. 
** Remember you are a soldier's daughter." 

He lifted Marya from her uncomfortable seat, 
intending to make her walk for a short distance. 
"Why, your hands are like ice," he exclaimed 
with concern. " You are not sufficiently clad for 
this rough journey. It was foolish of me not to 
think of that sooner. Never mind. I shall wrap 
you up and you will feel quite comfprt^ljl^," 

Fighting the Wolves 149 

Divesting himself of his fur coat he threw it 
over the girls shoulders and kootted the long 
sleeves in front 

" Don't you feel warm now?" he asked. 

**Oh, yes! You are very kind, Petrushka. 
But what about yourself?" 

** I am accustomed to rough it," he laughed as 
he lifted her into the saddle again. ** I think 
you had better sit in front now. What a big 
bundle you make — just like a birthday doll 
wrapped up in a skin package!" 

The girl laughed merrily, and Petrushka 
mounted his horse again and set it trotting along 
the highway at a goodly pace. 

At the post station, which was reached early in 
the afternoon, Petrushka hired horses and a car- 
riage, being unable to obtain a sledge. Then he 
took Marya to the inn, and there they both par- 
took of a warm meal. 

Having purchased a heavy rug, he returned to 
the post station with the girl, and lifted her into 
the carriage as soon as the horses had been 

"How far distant is the next station?" he asked 
the driver. 

" Not more than eight versts, master," was the 
answer. ** But our progress will be slow, I fear. 
Much snow lies on the roads and the frost has 
made it hard and slippery in places." 

" Drive as swiftly as possible," Petrushka urged 
him. " You will be well rewarded, my friend." 

ISO Russian Folk-Life 

The journey was a slow and arduous one. The 
horses seemed afraid to run fast They were 
constantly tripping on the frozen ruts where the 
snow lay thinnest, and at those parts which were 
made difficult by piled -up wreaths of soft snow 
they laboured heavily at a slow pace. 

It was late in the afternoon when the next 
post station was reached. 

Petrushka at once leapt from the carriage and 
hastened into the office of the Post Commissary. 

" Have you a sledge for hire?" he asked 

"There is an excellent sledge here," was the 
answer. "You can have it to-morrow morning." 

•* I shall require it in another hour," Petrushka 
said, "and also fresh horses. I must hasten on 
and reach Moscow to-night." 

"That is impossible," the Post Commissary 
grunted. " I have only two horses, a brown and 
a grey, and they were engaged this morning. 
Would you grudge the animals their natural rest?" 

"And look at the sky," broke in the driver. 
"We'll have more snow before very long." 

" I cannot tarry here," Petrushka declared im- 
patiently. " Do you think I am travelling for 
pleasure? I will pay double rates for the horses. 
Let them be well fed before we start." 

" The road is not only difficult but dangerous," 
protested the Commissary. " Last night a sledge 
was chased by wolves not many versts distant 
from here." 

Fighting the Wolves 151 

"Wolves?" exclaimed the driver, turning pale* 

Petrushka laughed hoarsely. " I have heard 
such stories before. Travellers who spend much 
time at the inns always blame the wolves for their 
delays. We have no need to fear wolves even if 
we meet them. I have a hand -gun and two 
pistols. Wolves are easily scared away by fire- 
arms. Besides, I shoot well." 

He drew a purse of gold from his pocket and 
made the coins jingle. 

" That is sweet music," smiled the Commissary. 

** I shall pay you the full value of the horses," 
Petrushka said in a low voice. " Surely you will 
hire them now." 

*' Take the child to the inn. Give her hot tea 
to drink," growled the Commissary. '* The horses 
will be ready in an hour." 

He turned away and hastened towards the 
stables. ' 

"Master, what about me?" asked the driver. 
*' I have need of something to drink, too." 

Petrushka thrust forty kopecks in the man's 
outstretched hand. "When we reach Moscow," 
he whispered, " you will receive a gold rouble for 
serving me so well." 

The driver grinned. " Do not let the Com- 
missary hear that," he whispered back. "He 
might talk about it. There are men in this village 
who are more to be feared than wolves." 

152 Russian Folk-Life 

III. The Race to Moscow 

Petrushka lifted Marya from the carriage and 
carried her to the inn. The little girl was pale 
and dispirited, but when she was taken into a 
warm room and placed beside the stove a flush 
came to her cheeks and she began to smile. A 
woman brought her a dish of hot tea, and she 
sipped it greedily. 

" Beyond this place the roads are smooth," 
Petrushka said, **and we shall travel swiftly." 

"The sledge will fly like a bird, little lady," 
smiled the woman. " You are sure to fall asleep. 
I wish I could go to Moscow with you. It is 
a great and wonderful city." 

" My mother is in Moscow," Marya said. 

"How happy she will be when she sees you, 
little lady!" 

"And I shall be happy, too." 

Petrushka rose to leave the inn. " I shall return 
for you very soon," he told the girl. Then he 
nodded to the driver and the two men went out 

They found the Commissary in the stables. 
" The horses have had warm food," he said, "and 
seem fresh again. But do not drive them too 
hard. I have placed a small axe in the sledge. 
You may require it if there are wolves about." 

"It is hardly necessary," answered Petrushka. 
" I can trust to my fire-arms." 

Fighting the Wolves 153 

The driver crossed himself. ** We are in God's 
hands," he said. 

** Still, it would be safer if you waited until 
morning," remarked a groom. 

Petrushka hastened towards the inn and returned 
carrying Marya in his arms. 

"Stand aside!" he exclaimed impatiently as he 
elbowed his way through the little crowd which 
had collected round the sledge. He propped up 
the little girl comfortably in the seat. She was 
so well wrapped round with coat and rugs that 
she could scarcely move. The Commissary ob- 
served that Petrushka was insufficiently clad for 
travelling by night in such cold weather. 

"You will need your heavy coat," he urged. 
** It is foolishness on your part not to wear it. 
Have you no fear of frost-bite?" 

•* None whatever," answered the other with a 
smile. " I never feel the cold. Besides," he 
added in a whisper, ** if there are really wolves on 
the road, Til be all the more able to deal with 
them as I am." 

The Commissary shook his head doubtfully, but 
ere he could utter another word of warning the 
driver whipped up his horses. Petrushka shouted 
a cheery farewell as the sledge glided away. 

** The man is mad," growled a groom. " If we 
ever look upon him in life again I shall be greatly 

"May God protect the little girl!" muttered 
the Commissary, turning away. 

154 Russian Folk-Life 

The sledge went skimming smoothly along the 
narrow highway, the horses* hoofs pattering with 
little sound on the snow and the bells tinkling 
merrily in the frosty air. Soon the driver began 
to drone an old song, and the horses twitched 
back their ears constantly as if the sound of his 
voice gave them pleasure. A yellow streak of 
evening light appeared in the western sky, and 
overhead the crescent of the new moon seemed 
to be a silver sledge racing across wastes of snowy 

** We are going to have a pleasant journey to 
Moscow, litde Marya," Petrushka said. 

The girl smiled faintly. "I am very tired," 
was her answer. 

•' But you are comfortable now, I am sure." 

"Yes, very. . . . Why don't you put on your 
thick fur coat? I really don't require it. The 
rugs will keep me quite warm." 

"And you are not a bit afraid either, eh?" 

" Not when you are beside me, Petrushka. The 
wonmn in the inn said we might be attacked by 
wolves. You will shoot them if they come, won't 

** It was wrong of the woman to try and frighten 
you," Petrushka said with a frown. " Of course 
I shall shoot any wolves that dare to come near us. 
Have no fear of them. . . . Listen to the driver s 
song. The bells seem all to be ringing in tune." 

Marya's eyes glowed with pleasure, and 
Petrushka began to tell her a fairy story about 

Fighting the Wolves 155 

a princess who was once carried through the air 
in a golden car drawn by wild geese. She 
listened with delight as the sledge sped onward 
along the level highway. The story was a long 
one, and when Petrushka had finished it had 
grown dark. They were passing through a forest, 
and th6 gaunt leafless trees, laden with snow, 
stretched out their branches on either side like 
g^ant hands which were trying to clutch at passers- 
by. An icy wind began to blow out of the north, 
and tossed into the sledge the flakes of snow which 
were loosened by the horses' hoofs. Marya grew 
more afraid, and when she spoke her voice 

" Do you feel cold?" asked Petrushka softly. 

"No, I •am not cold," the girl made answer, 
"but I am just a little afraid." 

"We shall soon leave the forest," the man 
assured her. "It comes to an end about two 
versts farther on." 

Petrushka's voice sounded hollow and strange 
^ the darkness. From the trees came curious 
snapping noises as the wind rushed past them 
through spaces which had been cleared by peasants. 
A sense of loneliness pervaded the night. The 
driver had ceased to sing. Now and again he 
spoke to the horses, urging them to speed faster. 

At length the awesome forest was left behind. 
Then the crescent moon came out from behind a 
thick bank of cloud and lit up the wide solitary 
plain, across which the road ran like a long 

156 Russian Folk-Life 

narrow ribbon. Suddenly Marya uttered a faint 
scream. **What is wrong with your left ear?" 
she asked Petrushka. ** It is terribly swollen." 

The man raised a hand and touched his ear. 
It seemed hard as a piece of wood. 

" Frost-bite," he muttered. 

*• Put on your thick fur coat," urged Marya. 

Petrushka laughed a forced laugh. ''Oh! it is 
nothing," he said gaily. " One can cure a frost- 
bite very easily." 

As he spoke he gathered a handful of the snow 
which had collected in the sledge and rubbed it 
vigorously against his ear. 

*' Snow is a certain cure for frost-bite," he told 
the girl. '* Draw your veil down over your face. 
The cold wind may nip you as well." ' 

Marya did as he suggested. " Can't you cover 
your own face, too?" she asked. "Wrap this rug 
round your shoulders." 

Petrushka continued to rub the frost-bitten ear, 
until a shout from the driver caused him to leap 
to his feet The horses were snorting excitedly, 
and the sledge rocked from side to side like a boat 
tossed by angry billows. 

"Keep the horses running straight ahead!" 
Petrushka called to the driver, who was scoiding 
and taunting them as if they were rowdy children. 

"What is wrong?" asked Marya, leaning forward 
and clutching Petrushka s right arm. 

Ere he could answer, a piercing howl rose 
through the keen night air. 

Fighting the Wolves 157 

"Wolves! wolves!" screamed the affrighted 

"Hush! Do not be afraid," Petrushka said 
softly and firmly. "If you cry out like that, you 
will only encourage them. Til soon scare off the 
cowardly brutes. They are afraid of fire-arms." 

It was all the driver could do to keep control of 
his horses. The poor animals had been suddenly 
thrown into a state of alarm. On a little emi- 
nence at a bend of the road, about fifty yards 
in front of them, stood a great, long-legged wolf, 
sharply outlined against the snow, and howling 
fiercely. It was the scout of a hungry pack, which 
was scouring a forest near at hand in search of 
food. Petrushka and the driver realized that their 
only hope was to drive past this animal before its 
fellows came up and attacked in force. 

The horses reared and faltered, and despite the 
efforts of the driver ultimately came to a stand- 
still, snorting and trembling with fear. Petrushka 
leapt from the sledge and ran forward towards 
the wolf. Then, kneeling in the snow, he took 
steady aim with his hand -gun and fired. The 
wolf was struck and fell over on the snow, yelping 
with pain. 

In another minute the horses were racing for- 
ward again. Petrushka leapt into the sledge when 
it reached him, and sat down beside Marya, who 
was sobbing with terror. 

" Do not weep, little girl," he said softly. '* I 
h^v§ killed ^he wQlf, Th? hprses ^e OQw scamper- 

158 Russian Folk-Life 

ing along at a fine speed We shall escape all 

** Won't the other wolves follow us?" she asked 

"They will wait to devour the one I shot," 
answered Petrushka. '* We shall thus gain time. 
The horses know now that the wolves are behind 
us. How splendidly they run!" 

The driver was sitting bolt upright on his seat, 
shouting lustily to encourage the horses. 

Marya, who had dried her eyes, was somewhat 
reassured by the coolness displayed by Pet- 

"Do you think the wolves have gone away.^" 
she asked him as, kneeling on the seat, he peered 
anxiously over the back of the sledge. He turned 
round to answer her, but before he could speak 
an affrighted scream escaped her lips. 

"What is wrong with your nose?" she asked. 
Petrushka's nose was gfrotesquely swollen, and 
imparted to his face a fearsome aspect. 

" Frost-bite," he groaned, seizing another hand- 
ful of snow and rubbing his nose vigorously. 

The driver glanced round. " God preserve us!" 
he shouted; "they are coming on now." Once 
again the horses had begun to show signs of 
alarm, and it was as much as he could do to keep 
them in control. 

Petrushka stood up on the seat as if defying, 
by a great effort of will, the full force of the icy 
wind Once again th^ howling of a wolf 

Fighting the Wolves 159 

through the night. The pack was following a 
new leader, in full chase after the sledge. 

Marya moaned fitfully, while the horses broke 
into a gallop which was sure to exhaust them 
sooner or later. The yelping and howling of the 
wolves sounded fiercer and louder as they drew 

Petrushka watched the dark forms growing 
larger and larger, and raised his gun to fire when 
they came within range. He took little thought 
for himself, although he realized that by neglect- 
ing the frost-bite he would probably be disfigured 
for life by loss of nose and ear. His sole concern 
was to protect Marya, who had been committed 
to his care. 

The little girl had swooned with terror, and lay 
back on the seat. Petrushka bent over her for a 
second, and adjusted a rug so as to enable her to 
breathe more freely. Then he seized his gun 
again. In another minute he fired, and then 
grasped a pistol and fired a second time. Two 
wolves rolled over in the snow, and the pack 
faltered to tear them to pieces and devour their 
flesh. Petrushka at once reloaded his fire-arms. 

Shout as he might, the driver was unable to 
control his horses. 

"Can't you keep them in hand?" shouted 

"The grey horse has gone quite mad," the 
driver answered, tugging the reins furiously. " He 
will upset the sledge at the first bridge." 

i6o Russian Folk-Life 

" Will I shoot him?" asked Petrushka. 

" Are you mad? The wolves " 

"It would delay them. Before they could de- 
vour the horse we might reach shelter. How far 
off is Moscow?" 

" Ten versts. But there is a village half that 
distance from here." 

Petrushka climbed over the sledge to the driver's 

"Well sacrifice the grey horse," he said, 
shouldering his gun and discharging it The 
animal at once reared madly, and then fell heavily 
forward, bringing the other horse to a standstill. 
For a minute it seemed as if the sledge would be 
upset But the driver saved the situation by 
causing the brown horse to swerve sharply. Then 
he leapt out, grasping the axe in his hand, and 
with a few deft blows cut the harness which 
attached the fallen animal to the sledge. Mean- 
while Petrushka had run forward and was holding 
the brown horse by the head. 

Once again the howling of the wolves grew 
louder and nearer. There was no time to be lost 
The driver sprang forward and backed the brown 
horse, until he was able to get the sledge slewed 
round and drawn past the grey, which was strug- 
gling convulsively in the snow. 

"Jump in!" he shouted to Petrushka. 

He clapped the brown horse on the neck, spoke 
to it softly, and then ran back to his seat 

"Fly like the wind!" he called tp the panting 

• I. 

W C W t V 

V ^ V ** t- 

Fighting the Wolves i6i 

animal, cracking his whip excitedly. ** We'll reach 
the village yet" 

The horse darted forward just as Petrushka fired 
at the wolves with gun and pistols at close range. 
Three animals fell sprawling in the snow. 

"They won't trouble us now for a time," he 
shouted to the driver. " What a gorge we have 
left for them!" 

The driver made no answer. He kept cracking 
his whip and shouting to the brown horse, which 
ran steadily, but was already showing signs of 

Petrushka knelt beside Marya and rubbed snow 
on her white face. Soon she opened her eyes 
and sighed deeply. ** Have the wolves gone 
away.^" were her first words. 

**We have left them far behind," answered 
Petrushka. ** Before long we shall reach a place 
of safety." 

The sledge went on smoothly for a time. Then 
the driver began to show signs of anxiety. 

** Ah, would you?" he shouted excitedly to the 
horse. " Get on! Lively there! If you tarry the 
wolves will get us." 

The brown horse was slowing up, panting 

** What a feed of corn is waiting for you!" the 
driver called to the horse. *' Do you hear me?" 
He cracked his whip impatiently. 

" Let him walk a bit," Petrushka said, standing 
up behind the driver. 

(0821) 11 

i62 Russian Folk-Life 

"There is a bridge not far off," answered the 
driver, "and a verst beyond it is the village. When 
we cross the bridge I shall feel safe." 

The horse began to walk, with head drooping 
listlessly, and the driver turned round to speak to 

"You are badly frost-bitten," he said. "You 
will have good cause to remember this night's 

The words had scarcely left his lips when the 
horse, scenting danger once again, broke into a 
sharp trot, with head erect and ears shifting 

"They are coming now!" exclaimed the driver, 
tightening his hold on the reins. He knew full 
well the horse had scented the approaching pack. 

"What does the driver say.^" Marya asked, as 
Petrushka clutched his gun and stood up on the 
seat. " Are the wolves still chasing us?" 

The man made no answer. But Marya was not 
long left in doubt as to what was happening. The 
shrill yelps of the bloodthirsty animals came up 
the wind, sounding fiercer and more awesome 
than before. 

"Now for the bridge!" shouted the driver to 
Petrushka. "Hold on!" 

He whipped up the brown horse, so as to take 
the bridge at a run. But the road was badly cut 
up as it descended to the river bank, and the 
sledge rocked violently. The horse, which was 
straining every muscle, seemed to realize in- 

Fighting the Wolves 163 

stinctively that once the bridge was crossed the 
chances of escape would increase. 

" Steady! Steady!" bawled the driver excitedly, 
as the animal reached the hollow that lay between 
the level highway and the bridge. In another 
minute the sledge was tilting over like a listing 
boat, and seemed in danger of being upset But 
it was righted as abruptly with a rough jolt, and 
then ran smoothly over the bridge. On the other 
side it plunged and rocked again, and almost came 
to a standstill. Petrushka leapt out, and running 
forward grasped the reins behind the horse's 
mouth, and led the snorting animal up the steep 
bank in safety. 

"Jump in!" exclaimed the driver impatiently. 
"You will need your fire-arms presently." 

"Give me the axe," Petrushka said. "I will 
keep the wolves back until you reach the village." 

"Are you mad.*^" shouted the other. "You 
will be torn to pieces in a few minutes if you 
wait there. Jump in!" 

The howling of the wolves sounded nearer at 

"Give me the axe!" Petrushka repeated in a 
peremptory voice. "Then drive on as fast as 
possible and send help. Til keep the brutes at 
bay. If I perish, convey Marya to Moscow. 
She has my purse, and will reward you gener- 

The driver threw the axe from the sledge and 
cracked his whip. 

i64 Russian Folk-Life 

"Farewell, Marya!" Petrushka shouted as the 
sledge skimmed past him. An affrighted scream 
was the only answer he received. 

•* Do not be afraid, little one," shouted the 
driver without turning his head " You will soon 
be safe in a comfortable inn." 

Petrushka climbed the parapet of the bridge 
to await the wolves. He had perceived that at 
this point the pack would be unable to cross the 
frozen river, because the banks were so steep and 
slippery, without making a wide detour. They 
must needs scamper over the bridge if they were 
to catch up the sledge before it reached the village. 
So he had made up his mind suddenly to hold 
them back until Marya's escape was assured, and 
to sacrifice his life for her sake if needs be. 

His pistols were thrust in his pockets, and the 
axe was dangling from his belt as he stood np 
with his gun at his shoulder waiting for the 
wolves. Nor had he long to wait The leading 
wolf scampered up noiselessly, and paused for a 
second, glancing to right and left Then it 
bounded on to the bridge. Petrushka fired, and 
the animal dropped dead with a bullet through 
its brain. He reloaded his gun, and had just 
removed the ramrod after packing down the 
charge when the wolves came up. The yelping 
animals sprang at once on the body of the leader 
and fought over it But one leapt forward to- 
wards Petrushka. He fired at once, and wounded 
it so severely that it turned and ran back, howling 

Fighting the Wolves 165 

with pain. Other wolves which came up attacked 
it, maddened by the smell of blood, and ere long 
had stripped the flesh from its bones. 

Petrushka began to tremble, partly with excite- 
ment and partly because he was suffering from 
the effects of frost-bite. He dreaded that he 
would collapse before the sledge reached the 
village, so he cast aside his gun and seized his 
pistols. In another minute he fired twice in suc- 
cession into the midst of the scrambling wolves. 
For a short interval it seemed as if the animals 
would be scared away. But ere he could reload 
his pistols a great grey wolf, leaping towards him, 
made a frantic effort to drag him down. Petrushka 
seized the axe and struck a fierce blow, which 
caused the animal to drop dead beneath him. 
But its attack had encouraged the others, and 
several rushed forward to close with him, snarling 
with bared teeth. A brief and desperate struggle 
followed. Petrushka was bold as a lion, but his 
strength was fast ebbing away, and when one 
of the animals succeeded in scrambling up the 
parapet and came bounding towards him, he 
swung his axe round to strike a blow, but over- 
balanced himself and fell with a crash on the 
frozen river beneath. 

But the brave Petrushka did not die in vain. 
The sledge reached the village before the terrible 
fight came to an end, and several men rushed out 
from the inn when they heard the harness bells 
jingling in the night air. 

i66 Russian Folk-Life 

" Have you seen wolves on the road?" one 
called to the driver as he drew near. 

"Yes, yes; and a man is keeping them back 
on the bridge," the driver answered, hoarse with 
excitement and horror, as he drew up his horse. 
" Hasten to his aid! There is no time to be lost," 
he urged them. 

••Wolves, wolves!" cried the men in chorus, 
running towards the inn to obtain fire-arms, and 
let loose the hounds that were kept to scare 
wolves away. 

Ere many minutes had elapsed half a dozen 
brave fellows went scampering along the road 
towards the bridge, each armed with a brace of 
pistols. Several great hounds went barking 
loudly in front of them. Then two men mounted 
on horses galloped past the sledge. 

•* Petrushka's life may yet be saved," the driver 
said soothingly to Marya as he lifted her out of 
the sledge and carried her into the inn. 

When the rescuers reached the bridge they 
found that the wolves had fled away, having 
scented danger. They at once made search for 
Petrushka, and at length discovered him lying 
dead on the surface of the frozen river. 

••God rest his soul!" an old man exclaimed 
piously. •* He died to save others." 

•• Look! look!" exclaimed another. " He has 
been badly frost-bitten. How dreadfully his face 
is swollen!" 

••He must have known his end was near," the 

Fighting the Wolves 167 

old man remarked. " But his last thoughts were 
not for himself. He sacrificed the little portion 
of life that remained for him so that the child 
might escape a dreadful death. Let us return, 
brother, taking the corpse of this good man with 


The fate of Petrushka was hidden from Marya 
until the morning. She wept copiously when she 
was informed of his death. The women at the 
inn did their utmost to comfort her. and one of 
them accompanied her to Moscow, where she was 
delivered safely into the arms of her mother. 
The driver was rewarded liberally for his services. 

Two days later Mrs. Gordon and her girls 
crossed the frontier into Poland, and were con- 
veyed to a village where the General awaited 
their arrival. 

The war-worn soldier embraced each one 
affectionately. Then he asked, ** But where is 

Marya related all that had taken place. 

" He was faithful unto death!" exclaimed 
General Gordon, with tears in his eyes. "A 
braver man never died on a battlefield. He 
sacrificed himself doing his duty, like a true 
Russian and a true Christian." 


I. The Shadow of Serfdom 

" Has our master gone quite mad?" cried the 
peasant's wife. ** He cannot mean what he 

** Yes, little mother, indeed he does," lamented 
Peter, her youngest son, ** he has arranged to sell 
us with a portion of his estate because he is in 
sore need of money." 

"In need of money?" repeated the woman. 
"Who ever heard of such foolishness? Why, 
Nicholas Ivanovitch Gogol is one of the richest 
noblemen in Russia." 

"It is said," her son explained, "that his two 
sons, Pavel and Dimitri, have almost ruined him. 
These young army officers gamble continually. 
Some must lose that others may win." 

"Do not speak about them; their names are 
hateful in my ears," moaned the peasant's wife. 
" They have brought sorrow to their parents, and 
now they bring sorrow to me." 

" Yes, indeed," Peter said, "they are to blame 
for all this. Well, what must be, must be." 

" Oh! do not speak like that," his mother cried. 


The Old Order and the New 169 

** Something must be done to prevent this ca- 
lamity. It will kill me, and it will kill your poor 
old father. Oh! it cannot be true that my children 
are to be taken from me." 

"Alas! it is only too true. I have brought a 
Moscow Gazette with me," her son told her, draw- 
ing a folded newspaper from his belt. *' Listen to 
this, little mother." 

Then he began to read the advertisement, miss- 
ing the opening part which referred to the portion 
of the estate which was offered for sale : 

** 'To be sold with the said portion of this estate 
— An excellent clerk, who can play on a musical 
instrument ' " 

"That is yourself, Peter," his mother inter- 
rupted. "Alas! why were you ever taught to 
read and write?" 

" * Also a well-trained coachman, strong and 

" Ivan — your brother Ivan," the woman ex- 
claimed; "will he sell my first-born also.*^" 

" *And a girl of seventeen, accustomed to all 
kinds of housework and a good needlewoman *" 

"Little Sasha as well!" sobbed the broken- 
hearted mother. "Oh! cannot she be spared? 
What of Rurik — is his name not there?" 

" No," her son answered sadly, "all that follows 
is: — 

"*Also, fourteen strong labourers and several 
Dutch cows.' So, you see, Rurik is left to you, 
little mother." 

170 Russian Folk-Life 

** But you and Ivan and Sasha are to be sold 
with the labourers. No, no, it cannot be ; it must 
not be," the woman protested. " I shall go and 
see the Master myself this very evening, and 
plead with him on my bended knees. Nicholas 
Ivanovitch is not a cruel man. He will listen to 
me with pity. I know he will." 

Peter made a hopeless gesture. " You might 
as well appeal to a tree-stump as appeal to 
Nicholas Ivanovitch Gogol. His mind is made 
up. Besides, his sons* creditors are threatening 
to bring ruin and disgrace to the family if their 
debts are not settled without delay." 

" Come and speak to your father, little Peter," 
his mother urged. " He will tell you, as I tell 
you, that this sale cannot possibly take place. I 
know it can't I feel it in my heart, and my 
heart never deceives me." 

Paul, the old peasant, was very deaf. He was 
grinding corn in the barn when his son entered, 
with the Moscow Gazette crumpled up in his right 

" Little Peter tells me," his wife shouted, ** that 
the sale is mentioned in the newspaper." 

The peasant looked up with a pale, blank face, 
his eyes moving so quickly from one to another 
that he seemed to speak with them, so full were 
they of meaning. 

** Peter and Ivan and Sasha are to be sold with 
fourteen labourers and some Dutch cows on the 
eastern portion of the estate," his wife bawled 

The Old Order and the New 171 

in his ear; ''that is what the newspaper says." 

Paul rose to his feet and drew a hand across 
his perspiring brow. 

** It is not true," he muttered in a low, deep 
voice. ** Our good master would never think of 
selling my family. Such a thing never happened 
before. My ancestors have served his ancestors 
for many generations. Our people have grown 
up here like the trees in the forest" 

** We must go together and talk with Nicholas 
Ivanovitch this very evening," his wife urged. 

**As you will," the peasant drawled. "But it 
is hardly necessary. What has put this foolish- 
ness into your head.*^" 

" Mother, Mother! Where are you, Mother.^" 
cried a girl's voice outside the barn. 

**Ah! it is little Sasha," the woman exclaimed 
with agitation, hastening from her husband's side. 

The girl embraced her mother convulsively and 
sobbed in her arms. 

** I have run out to speak with you, little 
mother," she said; "our master and mistress are 
asleep after dinner. But I could not sleep, think- 
ing of the sale. Oh, alas, my heart will break!" 

" Come into the house, little Sasha, my own," 
whispered her mother. " Do not let your father 
see you. He does not understand — he cannot 
believe it is true; nor do I." 

"My mistress told me I would be sold next 
month," the girl sobbed. " She said also that a 
great lady in Jaroslav had already written to ask 

172 Russian Folk-Life 

about me. What am I to do, Mother? I cannot 
leave you and father and the boys. If I am taken 
away, I may never see any of you again — never 
again. Oh, think of that!" 

•'This evening," her mother told her, **your 
father and I will go before our master and pre- 
vail upon him to spare us this great sorrow. So 
be comforted, my child, we'll arrange something 
better for you. See if we don't" 

It was then that Rurik came upon them all of a 
sudden as he scampered round the house. His 
cheeks were flushed ; his eyes danced in his head 
with excitement 

'* Well, this is great news," he panted excitedly. 
" I won't sleep to-night I'm sure I won't" 

** What has happened now, my son.^" his mother 
asked in a low, nervous voice. 

"Everyone is free. Do you understand? 
Everyone, I tell you. We can now go where we 
like, do what we like, and no one will dare inter- 
fere. The Tsar has said it Long live the Tsar! 
He is the Little Father of all his people." 

•* Are you mad, boy?" his mother cried. " Has 
the misfortune which threatens us all turned your 

"Down in the village," Rurik went on, "the 
peasants are shouting and dancing with joy. A 
newspaper, in which the Tsar's decree has been 
printed, is in the hands of the priest^ I heard it 

> Serfdom was abolished in Russia by a manifesto of Tsar Alexander II, 
in 1861. It had prevailed at one time all over Europe. 

The Old Order and the New 173 

read myself. What it all meant I cannot tell you, 
but one man asked the priest, * Are all the serfs 
free, now?* and he answered quite plainly, *Yes, 
my children, you are all free. Long live the 

Peter had joined the group ere his brother 
ceased speaking, and his mother turned to him, 
saying, ** What think you of this? Do you under- 

**For days past there have been strange 
rumours abroad," Peter told her, **but I paid 
little heed to them. But if what Rurik says is 
true, then " 

" Of course, it is true. We are all free," Rurik 
urged. " Everyone says so." 

A confused clamour of voices reached their 
ears, and looking round, they beheld, with sur- 
prise, a crowd of peasants, who had left their 
work, hurrying towards them. 

" Long live the Tsar!" they were shouting. 
'* He has released us from bondage as He re- 
leased the captives in Babylon." 

" Where are you going now?" Peter asked their 
leader, Ivan Ivanovitch, a stout, loud-voiced man 
with a large mouth which he seemed incapable 
of closing; when he ceased to speak it gaped 
wide and he breathed through it. 

"We are all going to speak with Nicholas 
Ivanovitch Gogol," Ivan boasted. 

"It is early yet. He will not receive you 
before sundown," said Peter. 

174 Russian Folk-Life 

" He will have to speak with us, and at once, 
too," Ivan persisted. ** Does the Tsar not de- 
clare that we are free? Being free, we can 
select our own time to approach Nicholas Ivano- 
vitch Gogol. He cannot inflict punishments upon 
us now. Come with us, Maria, and bring old 
Paul also." 

**Yes, yes, I shall certainly go with you," 
Maria answered. ** But all you say must be fully 
explained to my husband, else he will refuse to 
leave his work. He is grinding corn." 

She turned towards the barn, and the others 
went with her. ** Can my children be sold now.^" 
she asked suddenly. 

**Sold?" laughed Ivan Ivanovitch, rolling his 
eyes and twisting his face. " Don't you under- 
stand how matters stand now? Why, we are all 
free — free as the birds of the forest. We can 
go whither we will." 

** But I wish to remain here," Maria persisted. 
" I want my children to remain also. What if 
our master should send us away? Can he do 
so? Answer me that" 

She had paused, and stood facing Ivan Ivano- 
vitch. Her lips trembled and her hands shook. 

Silence fell upon the peasants. The idea of 
being sent away had never occurred to most of 
them, but Ivan laughed again. ** Merry times 
are in store for us," he declared. ** I intend 
going to the great fair at Nijni-Novgorod, where 
a man can earn sufficient money in a month to 

The Old Order and the New 175 

last him for the rest of the year. Ilia here was 
once in Moscow and wants to reside there, and 
Jacob speaks of going to Kiev. No doubt, your 
sons will wander hither and thither, like the rest, 
Maria," he added. 

The woman began to smooth her hair. " I 
wish for nothing better than that my children 
should remain here always," she said. ** But let 
us speak to my husband. He is the wisest man 
on the estate. He thinks all day long, and is 
fit to be a judge." 

"Did you ever hear such a woman?" puffed 
Ivan. ** She's always boasting about her hus- 
band's wisdom. But there are others quite as 
wise as he is." 

Paul looked up with surprise when the little 
crowd entered his barn. ** What has happened.*^" 
he asked. " Why have you left your work?" 

Ivan Ivanovitch went towards him and bawled 
into his ear all he had told Maria. " Now," said 
he, **come with us to speak before Nicholas 

** Not until sundown," Paul answered. " Would 
you have me neglect my work? Who ever heard 
of such a thing? Besides, our master would not 
receive us until the proper time. He has his 
duties to attend to just as we have." 

"Very well. You are a stubborn man, Paul. 
Have your own way with it," bawled Ivan Ivano- 
vitch. " But be warned in time. When you go 
to meet the master after sunset this evening he 

176 Russian Folk-Life 

may not be able to see you. Ha! ha! think of 

** What do you mean?" Paul asked. 

"A fierce spirit has broken out among our 
friends," Ivan said darkly. "There are old 
scores to be wiped out One never knows what 
may happen." 

"Ah!" Paul ejaculated, looking very grave. 
" Perhaps, after all, I had better go with you." 

"Now you are talking sense," said Ivan; "I 
thought I would move you." 

Maria then spoke to her husband, saying, 
"Our master has done a wickedness in trying 
to sell our children." 

" Say no more," Paul urged. "If wrong has 
been done, God will punish the guilty. A serf 
cannot be the judgfe of his master. He that 
judges is higher than those who are judged." 

"That may have been true once," declared 
Ivan, " but everything has changed now that we 
are free. . . . Well, well, good people, let us 
hasten to speak with the master. You see even 
Paul is coming with us." 

" What is going to happen?" asked Maria with 

" Leave everything to me," Ivan remarked 
somewhat vainly. 

"Will you plead with Nicholas Ivanovitch on 
behalf of my children?" 

"Oh! dear me, listen to the woman," Ivan 
laughed " She cannot understand yet. Come 


The Old Order and the New 177 

along, all of you, and you will hear me speak. 
This day will not be readily forgotten. How I 
shall enjoy seeing our master trembling in his 
shoes when I tell him what I think! Follow 
me, my friends, follow me!" 

He threw back his head and uttered a great 
shout Paul heard it and looked up quickly with 
wide eyes. ** I shall walk beside you, Ivan 
Ivanovitch," he said, taking the arm of the boast- 
ful peasant 

11. The Serfs Set Free 

Nicholas Ivanovitch Gogol, the proprietor, was 
a heavy-featured man with sleepy grey eyes and 
a closely-cropped beard. He lived an easy, lazy 
life, as had done his fathers before him, year in and 
year out, attending languidly to the business of 
his estate, on which there were more serfs than 
it was capable of sustaining. Each day he re- 
ceived reports from his oversmen, who saw that 
the routine work on the farm and in the forest 
was carried out, and once or twice a week drove 
round the fields on horseback to keep his eye on 
the oversmen. At midday he dined and then 
slept for two hours, as did also his wife and the 
house servants. Then he drank a great quantity 
of hot tea and attended to his accounts. In the 
evening he sat in front of his house to hear com- 
plaints regarding the serfs and order punishments, 
to settle disputes between families, or to scold 

(0821) 18 

178 Russian Folk-Life 

wives who were careless regarding their husbands* 
comforts or the care of their children. He was 
at once an employer, judge, and father of all his 
people, and his word was law. Being at heart 
a kindly man, he was invariably just and reason- 
able, and his serfs regarded him as indeed a good 
master. They could not leave his estate without 
his permission, and he paid them no wages, but 
those who were industrious and honest were 
rewarded with holdings of land, which were ex- 
tended if well worked, and they were allowed to 
keep stock, paying in lieu of rent portions of their 
crops and produce. The younger men engaged 
in farm-work and wood-cutting, while certain 
of the peasants practised trades. Sometimes 
Nicholas sent an intelligent youth to Novgorod 
to be educated, and to receive a training in busi- 
ness. Such a one was Peter, son of Paul the 
peasant, who was engaged chiefly in clerical work. 
Life on the estate continued with little change 
until the proprietor's two sons became army 
officers. It was their mothers ambition that 
they should distinguish themselves by acquiring 
high titles, but ere many years had passed, 
Nicholas Ivanovitch discovered that the family 
name could not be thus honoured without the 
expenditure of large sums of money. Both the 
lads proved to be spendthrifts. In Petrograd 
they gambled so heavily that their father found 
himself running into debt. It was then he re- 
solved to cut down his expenditure, and on the 

The Old Order and the New 179 

advice of his sons, he employed a steward from 
Moscow to manage his estate. It was the 
steward who proposed to sell a portion of the 
estate with those skilled and unskilled serfs at- 
tached to it 

As it chanced, this decision was come to at a 
time when great reforms were about to be intro- 
duced. The chief of these was the liberation of 
the serfs. Hints of the coming change appeared 
in the newspapers, but Nicholas Ivanovitch never 
read them. Such gossip as reached his ears he 
ignored or dismissed with scorn as false and 
foolish. One day his son wrote him saying that 
there could be no doubt of the Tsar's intention, 
and that soon all the serfs would be set free. 
Nicholas knitted his brows, and, tossing aside 
the letter, remarked to his wife : " Dimitri will 
never learn sense. All the money I have spent 
upon him has been wasted." 

But reports of like character reached him day 
after day from other sources. Once his steward 
began to speak regarding them with a very grave 
face, but Nicholas scolded him, saying: **So you 
too have been listening to idle gossip. Get on 
with your work and see that the peasants do 
theirs. Have you sent the advertisement to the 
Moscow newspaper, setting forth that I have land 
with serfs and cattle for sale?" 

"Yes, master," answered the steward. "As 
you ordered me, so have I done. J a^m her? tp 
obey your commands," 

i8o Russian Folk-Life 

Still Nicholas was troubled in mind, and one 
forenoon he mounted his horse and rode over to 
the house of a neighbouring proprietor to talk 
about these strange rumours which were flying 
about as thick as autumn leaves. 

This man, Andrei Petrovitch, was a district 
judge, and told Nicholas that the Tsar was about 
to grant a Constitution. 

** And what then?" asked Nicholas. 

**Who can foretell?" the judge exclaimed. 
"The Imperial edict has not yet been issued. 
But it seems that the serfs will have to be paid 
wages for their labour and be given the right of 
living where they choose. I expect that most 
of them will at once hasten to the towns. Then 
we shall not be able to get our land worked." 

Nicholas frowned, was silent for a moment, and 
then laughed aloud. " Has all the world gone 
mad?" he exclaimed. " I always thought you were 
a sensible man, Andrei Petrovitch. Now I see you 
are given over to foolishness like so many others." 

His friend shook his head gravely. ** Very 
well," said he, "just wait until you are a little 
older and you shall see." 

Nicholas struck his boots once or twice with his 
riding- whip and moved about uneasily. " Won't 
you speak seriously, then," he asked, "and tell me 
the truth about this matter? I want to sell some 
land with serfs, being in need of money. Shall 
I be prevented from doing so?" 

"YQy can't sell the serfs with your land, a^ 

The Old Order and the New i8i 

has hitherto been the custom, once the Tsar's 
edict is issued. If you did so now you would 
only rouse up all your people against you. Then 
they would certainly desert you, and you would 
not have a workman left on your estate. Be care- 
ful, Nicholas Ivanovitch, what you do. I warn 
you as a friend." 

** Then I shall sell my whole estate before it is 
too late," fumed Nicholas. The judge shrugged 
his shoulders. ** Who would buy it just at present 
when everything is so uncertain, and there is no 
guarantee that labourers can be obtained?" he 
smiled grimly. 

Nicholas Ivanovitch rode away in ill temper. 
It seemed to him that the whole world was being 
tumbled upside down, and he could not under- 
stand why. His mind was in confusion, and as 
he returned to his house he said, ** There is only 
one thing of which I am certain, and that is that 
I am hungry." He sat down gloomily to dinner, 
and ate a great quantity of fat pork with mush- 
rooms and onions. Then feeling drowsy he went 
to his bedroom, and fell asleep as soon as his head 
touched the pillow. His wife sought a couch, 
and covering Jier face with a handkerchief to 
protect it from the flies, was soon asleep also. All 
the servants slumbered like the master and mis- 
tress, as was their wont after the midday meal, 
except little Sasha and her brother Peter, who had 
stolen homeward to sorrow with their parents over 
th^ proposal to sell them to strangers. 

i82 Russian Folk-Life 

While Nicholas Ivanovitch slept, he dreamed 
a dream. He saw all his serfs, armed with 
weapons, surrounding his house with purpose to 
slay him, and he called to the house servants 
to close the doors, but they only jeered at him, 
saying: "We will no longer serve you. You 
have ceased to love us, and you have tried to sell 
us to enrich yourself. What care we although 
these men put you to death?" 

He strove to cry out for help, but was unable 
to utter a sound. His tongue seemed to have 
frozen in his mouth. Then a dark form came 
towards him with a naked sword. He expected 
to be slain in another moment But suddenly he 
escaped into a cellar, and closing the door, lay 
down trembling in every limb. 

**Set the house on fire!" cried many voices. 
Thereupon he seemed to hear the roaring flames, 
and thrusting open the door, ran into the corridor 
to effect his escape. But he found himself con- 
fronted by a woman. It was Maria, wife of Paul, 
the deaf peasant. He quailed before her, and she 
spoke and said : ** Do not fear, Nicholas Ivanovitch. 
Although you have sold my children I will save 
you, for I will drown the flames with my tears." 

He awoke with a start and sat up rubbing his 
eyes. Cold beads of perspiration had broken out 
on his forehead, and a convulsive shudder went 
through his body, "Thank God," he muttered, 
"it is only a dream! This is the result of all the 
foolish talk people are indulging in." 

The Old Order and the New 183 

He went towards the living room and found 
that the tea-urn had just been cafried in. So he 
sat down and drank glass after glass of hot tea 
until he felt refreshed. Afterwards he left the 
house and stood musing a time in the farm-yard. 

A workman was sitting on the ground, and 
Nicholas flew into a passion. '*What do you 
mean, you son of a frog.^" he exclaimed. " 111 
have you flogged if you do not go to your work at 

He expected to see the serf leaping to his feet 
and hurrying away. But the man remained sitting 
where he was. 

•*Are you deaf? Have your senses left you?" 
roared the infuriated proprietor. 

** No, master," the man answered. " I am not 
deaf, and have heard what you said. Know you 
not what has happened? Everything is in con- 
fusion. The Tsar has set all the serfs at liberty, 
and now we can do as it pleases us. I am content 
to sit here and ponder over my good luck." 

Nicholas was struck dumb with astonishment. 
He turned on his heel to go back to the house, 
when he saw the steward hastening towards him. 

**Well, what have you to tell me now?" the 
proprietor asked. 

"The Tsar's decree has been published," 
answered the steward excitedly. ** All the serfs 
are now free," 

**So these reports I scoffed at are true after 
all?" Nicholas remarked gloomily. 

i84 Russian Folk-Life 

** Yes, master, perfectly true. There is trouble 
everywhere. Agitators are advising the peasants 
not to do any more work." 

" Then how are they to live.^" asked Nicholas. 
"If they will not work there will be no food for 

"That is true, master. Matters must be fully 
explained to them. I have here a copy of the 
Moscow Gazette^ in which the Tsar's decree has 
been published. Shall I read it to you?" 

"Yes, do," Nicholas assented. He went to- 
wards a chair which had been placed for him in 
a shady part of the veranda and sat down. Then 
the steward, leaning against the wall, opened the 
newspaper and began to read. 

Half an hour later Nicholas Ivanovitch saw a 
score of his serfs drawing near. Ivan, the agi- 
tator, walked in front with deaf Paul and Maria. 

Then Nicholas remembered with pain the 
arrangement to sell a portion of his land with 
serfs, including three children of the old couple. 

" What is to be done now regarding Paul's 
family and the others?" he asked the steward. 

" They cannot be sold," was the answer. 

" Well, perhaps it is better so. I am not sorry. 
Some change had to come, and now the Tsar has 
done more than I ever sought to do. But where 
will money be found? Tell me that" 

"Rents will have to be paid, master," the 
steward answered. "Think of that. You may 
have less trouble about money in the future." 

The Old Order and the New 185 

" So you say. But don't tell me there will be 
less trouble. When the well is disturbed mud 
rises, and takes a long time to settle down. I do 
not like the look of these serfs. See how high 
Ivan Ivanovitch holds his head! The insolent 
dog! He has not forgotten the last flogging he 
received for stealing." 

For the first time in his life Nicholas felt 
nervous in the sight of his people. Often and 
often had he sat there to receive them of an even- 
ing, addressing them as *' my children ", and listen- 
ing to their complaints and appeals. Now they 
were coming with hostile hearts, perhaps to assault 
him. He was no coward, and did not fear on his 
own account. So long as they did not attack his 
wife, or burn his house, he cared little what they 
might say, whether in folly or wrath. He eyed 
them in silence until they came to a stand about 
half a dozen yards in front of him. Then speaking 
very calmly he said : ** You have come earlier than 
usual, children. Well, what do you want of me?" 

Ivan Ivanovitch was taken by surprise, and his 
jaw dropped. He was expecting a scolding, and 
came ready to pour out abuse. 

" What is it, Maria, that you wish to say.^" the 
proprietor asked softly, observing that die old 
woman's face twitched with emotion. 

Maria crouched on her knees, stretching out 
her hands appealingly: ** Is it true, O master," she 
cried, " that you are to sell my children? Do not 
answer ' yes ', or my heart will break." 

i86 Russian Folk-Life 

A flush suffused the proprietor's face. '' I shall 
speak regarding this matter to your husband/' 
said he; 'Met him wait behind the others/' 

Ivan Ivanovitch then found his voice* "Well 
you know/' he said passionately, '' that Paul is as 
deaf as a door-post and cannot hear half you say. 
Why not answer Maria now in presence of her 

" Yes, yes; answer here and now/' broke in half 
a dozen voices. 

Nicholas felt that his power over the peasants 
was slipping away. He clutched the arms i)f the 
chair and stared coldly until their eyes fell. Then 
he added, " Have you all come here to speak on 
behalf of Paul and Maria?" 

A murmur of general assent reached his ears. 

"You blockheads!" he exclaimed angrily. 
" What do you mean? It is no affair of yours." 

"Besides," interjected the steward, "there is 
no need now " 

" Silence!" the proprietor commanded, wheeling 
about " Your turn to speak has not yet come." 

Nicholas fixed his eyes next on Ivan Ivano- 
vitch. "It is not because Maria has a sore 
heart that you have led a rabble to my house. 
Her lamentations are nothing to you. Why have 
you come here, you son of insolence, at this time 
of day? Are you not afraid?" 

"The Tsar has set us free," Ivan answered 
boldly, with defiance in his eyes. 

"So you have heard that?" Nicholas answered 

The Old Order and the New 187 

with a sneer. "Well, others have heard it before 
you. Young people who are able to read knew 
of this many days ago. Being free, they wish to 
leave the homes of their fathers and go else- 

'' But you cannot sell the children of Maria and 
Paul," persisted Ivan. 

** I could have sold you all with my land long 
since," Nicholas fumed; **but I did not do so 
because you were faithful and industrious. Now 
you begin to rebel against me. What am I to do 
with you? If I cannot sell you, I can send you 
all away to find new masters. Is that your wish, 
Ivan Ivanovitch.^" 

The peasant hung his head. He had not ex- 
pected such an answer, and knew not what to say. 

Then the steward spoke: "Shall I explain to 
them how matters stand now?" he asked the pro- 

" As you will," Nicholas answered. " Let them 
hear the worst." 

" Listen to me, good people," the steward said, 
" and I will explain to you what the Tsar's decree 
signifies. Do not be deceived by ignorant men, 
who seek to stir up dispeace among you. These 
* bawlers ' (gorlopany) are self-seekers, who wish 
to profit themselves at your expense. There are 
changes coming. You will be left more to your 
own free will, but you will have greater obligations 
laid on your shoulders. If famine comes, you 
will have no claim for food on our master. If 

i88 Russian Folk-Life 

you gather firewood, you must pay for it with 
money. If you graze cattle, you must pay rent 
for the fields. If your cows die, you must suffer 
the loss yourselves and not come to our master to 
ask for calves from his own stock. You will be 
paid for the work you do, but out of your wages 
you must pay for all you eat, and for wool to 
make garments, and for timber to repair your 
houses. Those who are lazy will receive no work 
to do, they will have to wander through the 
country as beggars. Withal, you will have to pay 
taxes as well as rents. Do not imagine that the 
great Tsar, who is above us all, desires that you 
should rise up against your master. As Nicholas 
Ivanovitch is your master, so is the Tsar the 
master of Nicholas Ivanovitch, and will protect 
him if needs be." 

*' But we are all free," Ivan exclaimed, en- 
deavouring to rouse the spirits of the others, for 
the steward's speech had struck consternation into 
their hearts. ** Long live the Tsar!" 

** You are all free, indeed," the steward agreed. 
** You are now free to lay down the old burdens, 
but you must shoulder the new. Such is the will 
of the Tsar. Long live the Tsar!" 

Silence fell upon them all. Then deaf Paul 
stood forward and spoke. ** Nicholas Ivanovitch 
Gogol," he began, ** I have heard nothing of what 
has been said. But seeing that all lips are now 
motionless, it would seem my turn has come. I 
have been your faithful servant I served your 

The Old Order and the New 189 

father before you, and pray that my children may 
grow up to serve your children. Servants must 
be faithful to their masters. Such is the will of 
God and the Tsar's decree." He paused for a 
moment and wiped his brow. ** What things are 
now being told to me?" he went on. ** My wife 
says you desire to sell my children. I answer her 
saying, * What foolishness is this? None of my 
kin was ever sold. We have all grown up here 
on our master's estate like the trees of the forest ; 
we are part of it. Nicholas Ivanovitch Gogol will 
do as his ancestors did. I shall go to him and 
say, Tell us there is no truth in these rumours, 
O master, that the hearts of your servants may 
be comforted'." 

Nicholas smiled and nodded, and Maria began 
to weep copiously, kneeling on the ground beside 
her husband. 

Paul mopped his brow again. " Others have 
spoken in different manner," he resumed. " They 
have told me it is the Tsar's will that we should 
no longer work for our master. 'This is mere 
foolishness,' I have answered. * If we do not 
work, how can we obtain food and clothing and 
houses to shelter us from the cold? God sent us 
naked into the world, and left our parents to 
cherish us and give to us according to our needs. 
We grow up to fight against cold and hunger and 
wickedness.' I have thought it all over in my 
own mind, talking to myself constantly, for I hear 
by^ little of the words of others, To those whg 

igo Russian Folk-Life 

perform their work faithfully comes sure reward 
They overcome all that is evil. How, then, could 
the Tsar say, * My children, you need not work 
any more? The Tsar is wise and just. God 
has placed him over the people and their masters. 
We are all members of his family. He would not 
say, 'Work not,* knowing that if we became 
idlers, we should die of hunger and cold." 

Nicholas rose and went towards old Paul. 
"Your words are true wisdom," he called in his 
ear. "So long as you live, you shall neither 
hunger nor thirst, nor have need of clothing." 

" Master, master!" exclaimed Maria, "what of 
my children? Must they be sold? Oh! rather 
would I suffer any hardship than lose my dear 

Nicholas raised her up. " Do not weep, Maria," 
he said sofdy. " The Tsar has spoken, and we 
must all obey. If it is your children's desire that 
they should remain with you, well, let them re- 
main. Such is my will." 

The woman flung her arms round her husband's 
neck and cried, " May God prosper Nicholas 
Ivanovitch! He will not sell our children." 

" Said I not so?" Paul exclaimed. " Long live 
Nicholas Ivanovitch!" 

" Long live the Tsar!" called Ivan in a hoarse 

"Long live the Tsar!" Nicholas repeated. 
"We shall all obey the will of the Tsar." 

Then the peasants ?rowd?d roynd the proprietor, 

The Old Order and the New 191 

saying : " Do not send us away, O master. Let 
us live as we have lived before. It pleases us to 
work for you. No matter what others may do, 
we shall serve you faithfully and well." 

The heart of Nicholas was deeply moved. 
"You are all my children," he said. "So let us 
continue to live together as our fathers have done 
before us, doing God's will and honouring the 
Tsar. But let that be as you wish. I cannot 
compel you to remain. Those who hate me in 
secret should now leave me. All are free. Let 
those who desire to go, speed their departure, so 
that there may be no dispeace amongst us." 

He glanced round, and his eyes fell upon Ivan 
Ivanovitch and three others, who stood apart 
whispering one to another. 

"As for you, Ivan," he exclaimed, " I bear you 
no ill-will. But I bid you begone. Take with 
you also all those who follow you. Be their 
master, and use them well." 

Ivan shrank away. His influence as an agitator 
had come to an end, and he knew it None 
followed him. All the peasants remained with 
Nicholas Ivanovitch Gogol, whom they loved and 

It was well that Nicholas had won the confi- 
dence of the people, for several months went past 
before the new arrangements were carried out, 
and the Peace Arbiters began their work of set- 
tling the differences that had arisen between the 
proprietors and the peasants, Nichplas IvanQ- 

192 Russian Folk-Life 

vitch experienced no trouble. The rural serfs 
who remained with him became his tenants, and 
among these none prospered more than the sons 
of deaf Paul and Maria, who received their shares 
of land, for which they paid annual rents. New 
Courts were set up, and the authority exercised 
by the proprietor as governor of the people passed 
to the village Assembly, which was elected every 
three years. The first chairman, or "village 
elder", who was chosen by the tenants of Nicholas 
was deaf Paul, who ever dealt justly with all men, 
and won the respect of proprietor and peasant 
alike. He never ceased to counsel the people to 
be industrious and upright, so that **they might 
be pleasing in the sight of God and man". 

When die first three years went past, the 
Assembly wished to re-elect him, but he an- 
swered: ** I have begun the good work, and 
served my term. Now let a younger man take 
my place." 

So they elected Peter, who did his utmost to 
walk in the footsteps of his father. 

4i ike ViUafUld Pix9s^ GlasigoWf Scotland