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Старуха Изергиль и другие рассказы

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Максим Горький (1868-1936) - русский писатель и драматург, один из самых значительных и известных русских писателей и мыслителей в мире. Горького пять раз номинировали на Нобелевскую премию по литературе. Начав с романтических романов, песен в прозе и рассказов, Горький затем обратился к драматургии. На рубеже 19 и 20 веков, он прославился своими работами в революционном духе. Горький также является автором циклов очерков, автобиографических романов, пьес, двух крупных романов и документальных рассказов. Максим Горький фактически является псевдонимом Алексея Максимовича Пешкова, который впервые появился в 1892 году как подпись к рассказу Макара Чудры. В этом сборнике рассказов, названном в честь знаменитого рассказа старого Изергиля, представлены, пожалуй, самые известные рассказы Горького, раскрывающие его многогранный писательский талант. Главный пафос творчества писателя-мечта о" новых людях", бесстрашных и свободных, обладающих высочайшими интеллектуальными и физическими способностями, способных достичь сверхзадач, в том числе и бессмертия.
Горький, М. Старуха Изергиль и другие рассказы : книга для чтения на английском языке : худож. литература / М. Горький. — Санкт-Петербург : КАРО, 2018. — 272 с. — (Russian classic literature). - ISBN 978-5-9925-1335-6. - Текст : электронный. - URL: https://znanium.com/catalog/product/1046120 (дата обращения: 25.06.2024). – Режим доступа: по подписке.
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RUSSIAN CLASSIC LITERATURE


maxim
gorky

OLD IZERGIL
AND OTHER STORIES





KAPO
Санкт-Петербург

УДК 372.8
ББК 81.2 Англ
    Г71





MAXIM GORKY
OLD IZERGIL AND OTHER STORIES


     Горький, Максим.
Г71 Старуха Изергиль и другие рассказы: книга для чтения на английском языке / М. Горький — СПб. : КАРО, 2018. — 272 с. — (Russian classic literature).
     ISBN 978-5-9925-...-....


УДК 372.8
ББК 81.2 Англ


ISBN 978-5-9925
© КАРО, 2018
Все права защищены

                OLD IZERGIL




            I


    These stories were told to me on the shore of the sea near Akkerman, in Bessarabia.
    One evening, when our grape-picking was over for the day, the group of Moldavians with whom I had been working went down to the sea-shore, leaving me and an old woman named Izergil lying in the deep shadow of the grape-vines, silently watching the silhouettes of the people who had gone down to the shore merge with the blue shadows of night.
    They sang and laughed as they went; the men were bronzed by the sun, they had thick black moustaches and curly hair that hung clown to their shoulders, and they were wearing short jackets and wide trousers tight at the ankle; the girls and women were gay, they had dark-blue eyes and graceful bodies, and their skins were as bronzed as the men’s. Their silky black hair hung loose and the warm breeze played with it, making the coins plaited into it tinkle. The

Maxim GORKY • OLD IZERGIL AND OTHER STORIES

wind flowed over us in a broad continuous current, but from time to time it seemed to come up against some obstacle, and then there would be a great gust that blew out the women’s hair, making it stream about their heads in fantastic manes. This gave them the appearance of strange creatures out of fairy-tales. As they went farther and farther away, the night and my imagination clothed them in increasing beauty.
    Someone was playing a violin, a girl was singing in a deep throaty voice, bursts of laughter could be heard...
    The air was heavy with the tang of the sea and the vapours rising from the earth, which had been drenched by rain just before nightfall. Even now tattered storm-clouds were meandering across the sky in odd forms and colourings — here they were vague, like columns of smoke, grey and ashen-blue; there they were mottled black and brown and as sharp as fragments of rock. And between them gleamed the tender night sky dotted with gold. All of this — the sounds and the smells, the clouds and the people — was sad and beautiful and seemed to be the introduction to a marvellous tale. It was as if everything had been checked in its growth and was dying. The sound of the voices faded away as they receded, becoming nothing but mournful sighs.

OLD IZERGIL • I

5

    “Why did you not go with them?” asked old Izergil, nodding in the direction of the sea.
    She had become bent in two by time, her eyes, once shining black, were now dull and rheumy. And she had a strange voice — it sounded as if her tongue were made of crunching bone.
    “I did not wish to,” I replied.
    “You Russians are born old. All of you are as gloomy as demons. Our girls are afraid of you. But you, my lad, are young and strong.”
    The moon came up. Large, round and blood- red, it seemed to have emerged from the bowels of that steppe which had swallowed up so much human flesh and blood; this, perhaps, was why it was so rich and fertile. The old woman and I were caught in the lacy shadow of the leaves as in a net. Across the steppe, which extended to our left, flitted cloud shadows made pale and transparent by the blue moonshine.
    “Look, there goes Larra!”
    I turned to where the old woman pointed a crooked shaking finger and saw the shadows moving — there were many of them, and one, darker than the others, was travelling faster; it was cast by a wisp of cloud sailing closer to the earth and more swiftly than its sisters.
    “There is no one there,” I said.

Maxim GORKY • OLD IZERGIL AND OTHER STORIES

    “You are blinder than me, an old woman. Look. Do you not see something dark fleeing across the steppe?”
    I looked again, and again saw nothing but shadows.
    “It is only a shadow. Why do you call it Larra? “
    “Because it is Larra. A shadow is all that is left of him, and no wonder — he has been living for thousands of years. The sun has dried up his flesh and blood and bones and the wind has scattered them like dust. Just see how God can punish a man for his pride!”
    “Tell me the story,” I said to the old woman, anticipating one of those delightful tales born of the steppe.
    And she told me the story.
    “Many thousands of years have passed since this took place. Far across the sea, in the place where the sun rises, is a land where a great river flows, and in that land every leaf and blade of grass casts a shadow large enough to protect a man from the sun, which pours down mercilessly there.
    “That is how generous the earth is in that land.
    “A tribe of powerful people once lived there; they tended their flocks and displayed great strength and courage in hunting wild animals, and they feasted when the hunt was over, singing songs and making merry with the maids.

OLD IZERGIL • I

7

    “One day, during such a feast, an eagle flew out of the sky and carried off a black-haired maiden as lovely as the night. The arrows the men sent after the bird fell back on the ground without injuring it. And so the men set out in search of the maiden, but they could not find her. And in time she was forgotten, as everything on this earth is forgotten.”
    The old woman drew a deep breath and grew silent. When she spoke in her crackling voice it was as if she were voicing the sentiments of all the forgotten ages embodied in the shades of remembrance dwelling in her breast. Softly the sea echoed the introduction to this ancient legend which may have had beginning on these very shores.
    “But in twenty years she herself came back, worn and wizened, and with her was a youth as strong and handsome as she had been twenty years before. And when she was asked where she had been, she replied that the eagle had carried her off to the mountains and had lived with her there as his wife. This was their son. The eagle was no more; on feeling his strength ebbing he had soared high into the sky for the last time, and, folding his wings, had plunged to his death upon the jagged cliffs.
    “Everyone gazed in amazement at the son of the eagle, and they saw that he in no way differed from

Maxim GORKY • OLD IZERGIL AND OTHER STORIES

them except that his eyes had the cold proud gleam of the king of birds. When they addressed him, he sometimes did not deign to reply, and when the elders of the tribe approached him, he spoke to them as their equal. This they took as an insult, and they called him an unfeathered arrow with an unsharpened tip, and they told him that thousands like him and thousands twice his age paid them homage and obeyed their commands. But he looked them boldly in the eye and said that there were no others like himself; let others pay them homage if they wished, but he had no mind to. Oh, then the elders were angry indeed, and in their anger they said:
    “‘There can be no place for him among us. Let him go wherever he wishes.’
    “He laughed and went where he wished: he went over to a fair maid who had been studying him intently, and he took her in his arms. And she was the daughter of one of the elders who had reproved him. And although he was very handsome, she thrust him away, for she was afraid of her father. She thrust him away and walked off, and he struck her mightily, and when she fell down he stamped upon her breast until the blood spurted out of her mouth as high as the sky, and the maiden gave a great sigh and writhed like a snake and died.

OLD IZERGIL • I

9

    “Those who saw this happen were speechless with fear; never before had they seen a woman killed so brutally. And for a long time they stood there in silence, looking at her where she lay with wide-open eyes and blood-stained mouth, and at him who was standing beside her, standing alone, apart from everyone else, very proud — he even held his head high as if he were calling down punishment upon it. When at last people recovered from their surprise, they seized him and bound him and left him there, finding that to kill him now would be too simple and would give them little satisfaction.”
    The night deepened and darkened and became filled with odd little sounds. The marmots peeped mournfully in the steppe, the grasshoppers whirred among the vines, the leaves sighed and whispered to one another, the disc of the moon, which had been blood-red, paled as it withdrew from the earth and poured its blue light down on the steppe more lavishly than ever.
    “And then the elders gathered to decide on a punishment equal to such a crime. At first they thought of having horses tear him to pieces, but this seemed too mild; they thought of having each of them send an arrow into his body, but this, too, was rejected; it was suggested that they burn him alive, but the smoke of

Maxim GORKY • OLD IZERGIL AND OTHER STORIES

the fire would hide his sufferings from them; many suggestions were made, but not one of them satisfied everyone. And all the while his mother knelt silently before them, finding neither words nor tears to move them to pity. For a long time they spoke together, and at last one of their wise men said, after due consideration:
    “‘Let us ask him why he has done this.’ “And they asked him. “‘Unbind me,’ he said. ‘I shall not say a word so long as I am bound.’
    “And when they had unbound him he said: ‘“What would you have of me?’ — and his tone was that of a master to his slaves.
    “‘You have heard,’ said the wise man.
    “‘Why should I explain my actions to you?’
    “‘That we may understand them. Listen, proud one: it is certain that you are to die; then help us to understand why you have done such a thing. We shall go on living, and it is important that we add to our store of knowledge.’
    “‘Very well, I shall tell you, although perhaps I myself do not wholly understand why I did it. It seems to me that I killed her because she repulsed me. And I had need of her.’
    “‘But she was not yours,’ they said to him.
    “‘And do you make use of only those things which are yours? I see that each man has nothing but arms

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