The Visit To Santa Claus Land

JACK and Margaret were growing more excited each day, because Christmas was so near. They talked of nothing but Santa Claus.

“Don’t you wish you could see him?” they said over and over.

One night, just before Christmas, Mother tucked them in bed and left them to go to sleep. But Jack wiggled, Margaret wriggled. At last they both sat up in bed.

“Jack,” Margaret whispered, “are you asleep?”

“No,” said Jack, “I can’t go to sleep. Margaret, don’t you wish you could see Santa Claus? What’s that?”

They both listened, and they heard a little tap, tap on the window. They looked, and there, right in the window, they saw a funny little Brownie.

“What’s that I heard you say? You want to see Santa Claus? Well, I am one of his Brownies. I am on my way back to Santa Claus Land. I’ll take you with me if you want to go.”

Jack and Margaret scrambled from their beds.

“Come on, show us the way!” they cried in great excitement.

“No, indeed,” said the Brownie. “No one must know the way to Santa Claus Land. Kindly wait a moment.”

Then the Brownie took something soft and thick and dark, and tied it around Jack’s eyes. Next he took something soft and thick and dark, and tied it around Margaret’s eyes.

“How many fingers before you?” he asked.

Both of them shook their heads. They could not see a wink.

“Very well, now we’re off,” said the Brownie.

He took Jack’s hand on one side, and Margaret’s on the other. It seemed as if they flew through the window. They went on swiftly for a little while, then the Brownie whirled them round and round until they were dizzy, and off they went again. The children could not tell whether they were going north, south, east, or west. After a time they stopped.

“Here we are,” said the Brownie.

He uncovered their eyes, and the children saw that they were standing before a big, thick gate.

The Brownie knocked and the gate was swung open. They went through it, right into Santa Claus’s garden.

It was a very queer garden. There were rows and rows of Christmas trees, all glittering with balls and cobwebby tinsel, and instead of flower beds there were beds of every kind of toy in the world. Margaret at once ran over to a bed of dolls.

“Let’s see if any of them are ripe,” said the Brownie.

“Ripe?” said Margaret in great surprise.

“Why, of course,” said the Brownie. “Now if this one is ripe it will shut its eyes.”

The Brownie picked a little doll from the bed and laid it in Margaret’s arms. Its eyes went half shut, and then stuck.

“No, it’s not ripe yet,” said the Brownie. “Try this one.”

He picked another one, and this one shut its eyes just as if it had gone to sleep.

“We’ll take that one,” he said, and he dropped it into a big sack he was carrying.

“Now this one cries, if it’s ripe,” he said as he picked a lovely infant doll. The Brownie gave it a squeeze, and the doll made a funny squeaking noise.

“Not quite ripe,” he said, and he put it back into the bed. He tried several others, and he picked a good many. Some of them cried, some said “Mamma” and “Papa,” and some danced when they were wound up.

“Oh, do come over here, Margaret!” Jack called.

Margaret ran over to another bed and there were drums—big drums, little drums, and middle sized drums; yellow drums, blue drums, green drums, red drums.

“Can we gather some of these?” said Jack to the Brownie.

“Why, of course. Let’s see if this one is ripe.”

The Brownie took up a little red drum, and gave it a thump with a drum stick. But it made such a queer sound that Jack and Margaret both laughed out loud. The little red drum was put back into the bed, and the Brownie tried another big one. It went Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! and Jack and Margaret marched all along the bed, keeping step to it.

When they had finished picking drums, they went over to a bed filled with horns. That was the most fun of all. Some of them made very queer noises, and on some the Brownie played jolly little tunes.

The next bed they came to was filled with toys which could be wound up. There were trains, automobiles, dancing dolls, climbing monkeys, hopping birds, funny wobbling ducks, and every kind of toy you could think of. The children stayed at this bed for a long time.

At last Margaret said: “But where is Santa Claus? We wanted to see him.”

“Oh, to be sure,” said the Brownie. “Come along,” and he led them down a long, winding walk, to the edge of the garden. Then he pointed to a hill in the distance.

“Do you see that large white house? There is where he lives.”

The children stared at it. It was so white that it seemed to shine in the distance.

“Walk right across here,” said the Brownie, “then up the hill to Santa Claus’s house.”

“Oh, must we walk across there?” said Margaret. She stared down at the deep dark chasm between the garden and the hill; across it was stretched a narrow plank.

“Walk carefully,” said the Brownie, “and mind you don’t look down; for if you do, I’m afraid you won’t see Santa Claus to-night.”

“We’ll be very careful,” said Jack. “Come along, Margaret,” and he took his little sister’s hand and they started across the plank.

They had almost reached the middle of it when Jack looked down.

“Oh!” he said, and gave Margaret a pull.

She looked down too, and cried “Oh, Oh!” and down, down, down they went.

Suddenly they landed with a thump. They sat up and rubbed their eyes. There they were right in their own beds at home. Mother opened the door.

“Are you awake, children?” she said.

“Oh, Mother, we haven’t been asleep. We’ve been to Santa Claus Land, and we nearly saw Santa Claus!”

Then they told her all about it, and Mother just smiled.

The Tale Of Peter Rabbit

ONCE upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sandbank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.

“Now, my dears,” said old Mrs. Rabbit, one morning, “you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.”

“Now run along, and don’t get into mischief. I am going out.”

Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella and went through the wood to the baker’s. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries.

But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!

First he ate some lettuces and some French beans, and then he ate some radishes; and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.

But round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor!

Mr. McGregor was on his hands and knees planting out young cabbages, but he jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and calling out, “Stop, thief!”

Peter was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden, for he had forgotten the way back to the gate. He lost one of his shoes among the cabbages, and the other shoe amongst the potatoes.

After losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so that I think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.

Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.

Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve, which he intended to pop upon the top of Peter, but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his jacket behind him; and rushed into the tool-shed, and jumped into a can. It would have been a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had not had so much water in it.

Mr. McGregor was quite sure that Peter was somewhere in the tool-shed, perhaps hidden underneath a flower-pot. He began to turn them over carefully, looking under each.

Presently Peter sneezed—”Kerty-schoo!” Mr. McGregor was after him in no time, and tried to put his foot upon Peter, who jumped out of a window, upsetting three plants. The window was too small for Mr. McGregor, and he was tired of running after Peter. He went back to his work.

Peter sat down to rest; he was out of breath and trembling with fright, and he had not the least idea which way to go. Also he was very damp with sitting in that can.

After a time he began to wander about, going lippity-lippity—not very fast, and looking all around.

He found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room for a fat little rabbit to squeeze underneath.

An old mouse was running in and out over the stone doorstep, carrying peas and beans to her family in the wood. Peter asked her the way to the gate, but she had such a large pea in her mouth that she could not answer. She only shook her head at him. Peter began to cry.

Then he tried to find his way straight across the garden, but he became more and more puzzled. Presently, he came to a pond where Mr. McGregor filled his water-cans. A white cat was staring at some goldfish; she sat very, very still, but now and then the tip of her tail twitched as if it were alive. Peter thought it best to go away without speaking to her; he had heard about cats from his cousin, little Benjamin Bunny.

He went back toward the tool-shed, but suddenly, quite close to him, he heard the noise of a hoe—scr-r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scratch. Peter scuttered underneath the bushes. But, presently, as nothing happened, he came out, and climbed upon a wheelbarrow, and peeped over. The first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor hoeing onions. His back was turned toward Peter, and beyond him was the gate!

Peter got down very quietly off the wheelbarrow, and started running as fast as he could go, along a straight walk behind some black-currant bushes.

Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not care. He slipped underneath the gate, and was safe at last in the wood outside the garden.

Mr. McGregor hung up the little jacket and the shoes for a scarecrow to frighten the blackbirds.

Peter never stopped running or looked behind him till he got home to the big fir-tree.

He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his eyes.

His mother was busy cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the second little jacket and pair of shoes that Peter had lost in a fortnight!

I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.

His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!

“One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.”

But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.

Little Red Hen

LITTLE Red Hen found a grain of wheat.

“Who will plant this?” she asked.

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the goose.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Then I will,” said Little Red Hen.

So she buried the wheat in the ground. After a while it grew up yellow and ripe.

“The wheat is ripe now,” said Little Red Hen. “Who will cut and thresh it?”

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the goose.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Then I will,” said Little Red Hen.

So she cut it with her bill and threshed it with her wings. Then she asked, “Who will take this wheat to the mill?”

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the goose.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Then I will,” said Little Red Hen.

So she took the wheat to the mill, where it was ground. Then she carried the flour home.

“Who will make me some bread with this flour?” she asked.

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the goose.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Then I will,” said Little Red Hen.

So she made and baked the bread.

Then she said, “Now we shall see who will eat this bread.”

“We will,” said cat, goose, and rat.

“I am quite sure you would,” said Little Red Hen, “if you could get it.”

Then she called her chicks, and they ate up all the bread. There was none left at all for the cat, or the goose, or the rat.

The Story Of The Fisherman And His Wife

There was once a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a little hut close to the sea, and the fisherman used to go down every day to fish; and he would fish and fish. So he used to sit with his rod and gaze into the shining water; and he would gaze and gaze.

Now, once the line was pulled deep under the water, and when he hauled it up he hauled a large flounder with it. The flounder said to him, ‘Listen, fisherman. I pray you to let me go; I am not a real flounder, I am an enchanted Prince. What good will it do you if you kill me–I shall not taste nice? Put me back into the water and let me swim away.’

‘Well,’ said the man, ‘you need not make so much noise about it; I am sure I had much better let a flounder that can talk swim away.’ With these words he put him back again into the shining water, and the flounder sank to the bottom, leaving a long streak of blood behind. Then the fisherman got up, and went home to his wife in the hut.

‘Husband,’ said his wife, ‘have you caught nothing to-day?’

‘No,’ said the man. ‘I caught a flounder who said he was an enchanted prince, so I let him swim away again.’

‘Did you wish nothing from him?’ said his wife.

‘No,’ said the man; ‘what should I have wished from him?’

‘Ah!’ said the woman, ‘it’s dreadful to have to live all one’s life in this hut that is so small and dirty; you ought to have wished for a cottage. Go now and call him; say to him that we choose to have a cottage, and he will certainly give it you.’

‘Alas!’ said the man, ‘why should I go down there again?’

‘Why,’ said his wife, ‘you caught him, and then let him go again, so he is sure to give you what you ask. Go down quickly.’

The man did not like going at all, but as his wife was not to be persuaded, he went down to the sea.

When he came there the sea was quite green and yellow, and was no longer shining. So he stood on the shore and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

Then the flounder came swimming up and said, ‘Well, what does she want?’

‘Alas!’ said the man, ‘my wife says I ought to have kept you and wished something from you. She does not want to live any longer in the hut; she would like a cottage.’

‘Go home, then,’ said the flounder; ‘she has it.’

So the man went home, and there was his wife no longer in the hut, but in its place was a beautiful cottage, and his wife was sitting in front of the door on a bench. She took him by the hand and said to him, ‘Come inside, and see if this is not much better.’ They went in, and inside the cottage was a tiny hall, and a beautiful sitting-room, and a bedroom in which stood a bed, a kitchen and a dining-room all furnished with the best of everything, and fitted up with every kind of tin and copper utensil. And outside was a little yard in which were chickens and ducks, and also a little garden with vegetables and fruit trees.

‘See,’ said the wife, ‘isn’t this nice?’

‘Yes,’ answered her husband; ‘here we shall remain and live very happily.’

‘We will think about that,’ said his wife.

With these words they had their supper and went to bed. All went well for a week or a fortnight, then the wife said:

‘Listen, husband; the cottage is much too small, and so is the yard and the garden; the flounder might just as well have sent us a larger house. I should like to live in a great stone castle. Go down to the flounder, and tell him to send us a castle.’

‘Ah, wife!’ said the fisherman, ‘the cottage is quite good enough; why do we choose to live in a castle?’

‘Why?’ said the wife. ‘You go down; the flounder can quite well do that.’

‘No, wife,’ said the man; ‘the flounder gave us the cottage. I do not like to go to him again; he might take it amiss.’

‘Go,’ said his wife. ‘He can certainly give it us, and ought to do so willingly. Go at once.’

The fisherman’s heart was very heavy, and he did not like going. He said to himself, ‘It is not right.’ Still, he went down.

When he came to the sea, the water was all violet and dark-blue, and dull and thick, and no longer green and yellow, but it was still smooth.

So he stood there and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ said the flounder.

‘Ah!’ said the fisherman, half-ashamed, ‘she wants to live in a great stone castle.’

‘Go home; she is standing before the door,’ said the flounder.

The fisherman went home and thought he would find no house. When he came near, there stood a great stone palace, and his wife was standing on the steps, about to enter. She took him by the hand and said, ‘Come inside.’

Then he went with her, and inside the castle was a large hall with a marble floor, and there were heaps of servants who threw open the great doors, and the walls were covered with beautiful tapestry, and in the apartments were gilded chairs and tables, and crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and all the rooms were beautifully carpeted. The best of food and drink also was set before them when they wished to dine. And outside the house was a large courtyard with horse and cow stables and a coach-house–all fine buildings; and a splendid garden with most beautiful flowers and fruit, and in a park quite a league long were deer and roe and hares, and everything one could wish for.

‘Now,’ said the wife, ‘isn’t this beautiful?’

‘Yes, indeed,’ said the fisherman. ‘Now we will stay here and live in this beautiful castle, and be very happy.’

‘We will consider the matter,’ said his wife, and they went to bed.

The next morning the wife woke up first at daybreak, and looked out of the bed at the beautiful country stretched before her. Her husband was still sleeping, so she dug her elbows into his side and said:

‘Husband, get up and look out of the window. Could we not become the king of all this land? Go down to the flounder and tell him we choose to be king.’

‘Ah, wife!’ replied her husband, ‘why should we be king? I don’t want to be king.’

‘Well,’ said his wife, ‘if you don’t want to be king, I will be king. Go down to the flounder; I will be king.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘why do you want to be king? I can’t ask him that.’

‘And why not?’ said his wife. ‘Go down at once. I must be king.’

So the fisherman went, though much vexed that his wife wanted to be king. ‘It is not right! It is not right,’ he thought. He did not wish to go, yet he went.

When he came to the sea, the water was a dark-grey colour, and it was heaving against the shore. So he stood and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said the fisherman, ‘she wants to be king.’

‘Go home; she is that already,’ said the flounder.

The fisherman went home, and when he came near the palace he saw that it had become much larger, and that it had great towers and splendid ornamental carving on it. A sentinel was standing before the gate, and there were numbers of soldiers with kettledrums and trumpets. And when he went into the palace, he found everything was of pure marble and gold, and the curtains of damask with tassels of gold. Then the doors of the hall flew open, and there stood the whole Court round his wife, who was sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds; she wore a great golden crown, and had a sceptre of gold and precious stones in her hand, and by her on either side stood six pages in a row, each one a head taller than the other. Then he went before her and said:

‘Ah, wife! are you king now?’

‘Yes,’ said his wife; ‘now I am king.’

He stood looking at her, and when he had looked for some time, he said:

‘Let that be enough, wife, now that you are king! Now we have nothing more to wish for.’

‘Nay, husband,’ said his wife restlessly, ‘my wishing powers are boundless; I cannot restrain them any longer. Go down to the flounder; king I am, now I must be emperor.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘why do you want to be emperor?’

‘Husband,’ said she, ‘go to the flounder; I will be emperor.’

‘Ah, wife,’ he said, ‘he cannot make you emperor; I don’t like to ask him that. There is only one emperor in the kingdom. Indeed and indeed he cannot make you emperor.’

‘What!’ said his wife. ‘I am king, and you are my husband. Will you go at once? Go! If he can make king he can make emperor, and emperor I must and will be. Go!’

So he had to go. But as he went, he felt quite frightened, and he thought to himself, ‘This can’t be right; to be emperor is too ambitious; the flounder will be tired out at last.’

Thinking this he came to the shore. The sea was quite black and thick, and it was breaking high on the beach; the foam was flying about, and the wind was blowing; everything looked bleak. The fisherman was chilled with fear. He stood and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘What does she want now?’ asked flounder.

‘Alas! flounder,’ he said, ‘my wife wants to be emperor.’

‘Go home,’ said the flounder; ‘she is that already.’

So the fisherman went home, and when he came there he saw the whole castle was made of polished marble, ornamented with alabaster statues and gold. Before the gate soldiers were marching, blowing trumpets and beating drums. Inside the palace were walking barons, counts, and dukes, acting as servants; they opened the door, which was of beaten gold. And when he entered, he saw his wife upon a throne which was made out of a single block of gold, and which was quite six cubits high. She had on a great golden crown which was three yards high and set with brilliants and sparkling gems. In one hand she held a sceptre, and in the other the imperial globe, and on either side of her stood two rows of halberdiers, each smaller than the other, from a seven-foot giant to the tiniest little dwarf no higher than my little finger. Many princes and dukes were standing before her. The fisherman went up to her quietly and said:

‘Wife, are you emperor now?’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I am emperor.’

He stood looking at her magnificence, and when he had watched her for some time, said:

‘Ah, wife, let that be enough, now that you are emperor.’

‘Husband,’ said she, ‘why are you standing there? I am emperor now, and I want to be pope too; go down to the flounder.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, ‘what more do you want? You cannot be pope; there is only one pope in Christendom, and he cannot make you that.’

‘Husband,’ she said, ‘I will be pope. Go down quickly; I must be pope to-day.’

‘No, wife,’ said the fisherman; ‘I can’t ask him that. It is not right; it is too much. The flounder cannot make you pope.’

‘Husband, what nonsense!’ said his wife. ‘If he can make emperor, he can make, pope too. Go down this instant; I am emperor and you are my husband. Will you be off at once?’

So he was frightened and went out; but he felt quite faint, and trembled and shook, and his knees and legs began to give way under him. The wind was blowing fiercely across the land, and the clouds flying across the sky looked as gloomy as if it were night; the leaves were being blown from the trees; the water was foaming and seething and dashing upon the shore, and in the distance he saw the ships in great distress, dancing and tossing on the waves. Still the sky was very blue in the middle, although at the sides it was an angry red as in a great storm. So he stood shuddering in anxiety, and said:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘Well, what does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said the fisherman, ‘she wants to be pope.’

‘Go home, then; she is that already,’ said the flounder.

Then he went home, and when he came there he saw, as it were, a large church surrounded by palaces. He pushed his way through the people. The interior was lit up with thousands and thousands of candles, and his wife was dressed in cloth of gold and was sitting on a much higher throne, and she wore three great golden crowns. Round her were numbers of Church dignitaries, and on either side were standing two rows of tapers, the largest of them as tall as a steeple, and the smallest as tiny as a Christmas-tree candle. All the emperors and kings were on their knees before her, and were kissing her foot.

‘Wife,’ said the fisherman looking at her, ‘are you pope now?’

‘Yes,’ said she; ‘I am pope.’

So he stood staring at her, and it was as if he were looking at the bright sun. When he had watched her for some time he said:

‘Ah, wife, let it be enough now that you are pope.’

But she sat as straight as a tree, and did not move or bend the least bit. He said again:

‘Wife, be content now that you are pope. You cannot become anything more.’

‘We will think about that,’ said his wife.

With these words they went to bed. But the woman was not content; her greed would not allow her to sleep, and she kept on thinking and thinking what she could still become. The fisherman slept well and soundly, for he had done a great deal that day, but his wife could not sleep at all, and turned from one side to another the whole night long, and thought, till she could think no longer, what more she could become. Then the sun began to rise, and when she saw the red dawn she went to the end of the bed and looked at it, and as she was watching the sun rise, out of the window, she thought, ‘Ha! could I not make the sun and man rise?’

‘Husband,’ said she, poking him in the ribs with her elbows, ‘wake up. Go down to the flounder; I will be a god.’

The fisherman was still half asleep, yet he was so frightened that he fell out of bed. He thought he had not heard aright, and opened his eyes wide and said:

‘What did you say, wife?’

‘Husband,’ she said, ‘if I cannot make the sun and man rise when I appear I cannot rest. I shall never have a quiet moment till I can make the sun and man rise.’

He looked at her in horror, and a shudder ran over him.

‘Go down at once; I will be a god.’

‘Alas! wife,’ said the fisherman, falling on his knees before her, ‘the flounder cannot do that. Emperor and pope he can make you. I implore you, be content and remain pope.’

Then she flew into a passion, her hair hung wildly about her face, she pushed him with her foot and screamed:

‘I am not contented, and I shall not be contented! Will you go?’

So he hurried on his clothes as fast as possible, and ran away as if he were mad.

But the storm was raging so fiercely that he could scarcely stand. Houses and trees were being blown down, the mountains were being shaken, and pieces of rock were rolling in the sea. The sky was as black as ink, it was thundering and lightening, and the sea was tossing in great waves as high as church towers and mountains, and each had a white crest of foam.

So he shouted, not able to hear his own voice:

‘Once a prince, but changed you be Into a flounder in the sea. Come! for my wife, Ilsebel, Wishes what I dare not tell.’

‘Well, what does she want now?’ asked the flounder.

‘Alas!’ said he, ‘she wants to be a god.’

‘Go home, then; she is sitting again in the hut.’

And there they are sitting to this day.

In Exile

OLD SEMYON, nicknamed Canny, and a young Tatar, whom no one knew by name, were sitting on the river-bank by the camp-fire; the other three ferrymen were in the hut. Semyon, an old man of sixty, lean and toothless, but broad shouldered and still healthy-looking, was drunk; he would have gone in to sleep long before, but he had a bottle in his pocket and he was afraid that the fellows in the hut would ask him for vodka. The Tatar was ill and weary, and wrapping himself up in his rags was describing how nice it was in the Simbirsk province, and what a beautiful and clever wife he had left behind at home. He was not more than twenty five, and now by the light of the camp-fire, with his pale and sick, mournful face, he looked like a boy.

“To be sure, it is not paradise here,” said Canny. “You can see for yourself, the water, the bare banks, clay, and nothing else. . . . Easter has long passed and yet there is ice on the river, and this morning there was snow. . .”

“It’s bad! it’s bad!” said the Tatar, and looked round him in terror.

The dark, cold river was flowing ten paces away; it grumbled, lapped against the hollow clay banks and raced on swiftly towards the far-away sea. Close to the bank there was the dark blur of a big barge, which the ferrymen called a “karbos.” Far away on the further bank, lights, dying down and flickering up again, zigzagged like little snakes; they were burning last year’s grass. And beyond the little snakes there was darkness again. There little icicles could be heard knocking against the barge It was damp and cold. . . .

The Tatar glanced at the sky. There were as many stars as at home, and the same blackness all round, but something was lacking. At home in the Simbirsk province the stars were quite different, and so was the sky.

“It’s bad! it’s bad!” he repeated.

“You will get used to it,” said Semyon, and he laughed. “Now you are young and foolish, the milk is hardly dry on your lips, and it seems to you in your foolishness that you are more wretched than anyone; but the time will come when you will say to yourself: ‘I wish no one a better life than mine.’ You look at me. Within a week the floods will be over and we shall set up the ferry; you will all go wandering off about Siberia while I shall stay and shall begin going from bank to bank. I’ve been going like that for twenty-two years, day and night. The pike and the salmon are under the water while I am on the water. And thank God for it, I want nothing; God give everyone such a life.”

The Tatar threw some dry twigs on the camp-fire, lay down closer to the blaze, and said:

“My father is a sick man. When he dies my mother and wife will come here. They have promised.”

“And what do you want your wife and mother for?” asked Canny. “That’s mere foolishness, my lad. It’s the devil confounding you, damn his soul! Don’t you listen to him, the cursed one. Don’t let him have his way. He is at you about the women, but you spite him; say, ‘I don’t want them!’ He is on at you about freedom, but you stand up to him and say: ‘I don’t want it!’ I want nothing, neither father nor mother, nor wife, nor freedom, nor post, nor paddock; I want nothing, damn their souls!”

Semyon took a pull at the bottle and went on:

“I am not a simple peasant, not of the working class, but the son of a deacon, and when I was free I lived at Kursk; I used to wear a frockcoat, and now I have brought myself to such a pass that I can sleep naked on the ground and eat grass. And I wish no one a better life. I want nothing and I am afraid of nobody, and the way I look at it is that there is nobody richer and freer than I am. When they sent me here from Russia from the first day I stuck it out; I want nothing! The devil was at me about my wife and about my home and about freedom, but I told him: ‘I want nothing.’ I stuck to it, and here you see I live well, and I don’t complain, and if anyone gives way to the devil and listens to him, if but once, he is lost, there is no salvation for him: he is sunk in the bog to the crown of his head and will never get out.

“It is not only a foolish peasant like you, but even gentlemen, well-educated people, are lost. Fifteen years ago they sent a gentleman here from Russia. He hadn’t shared something with his brothers and had forged something in a will. They did say he was a prince or a baron, but maybe he was simply an official — who knows? Well, the gentleman arrived here, and first thing he bought himself a house and land in Muhortinskoe. ‘I want to live by my own work,’ says he, ‘in the sweat of my brow, for I am not a gentleman now,’ says he, ‘but a settler.’ ‘Well,’ says I, ‘God help you, that’s the right thing.’ He was a young man then, busy and careful; he used to mow himself and catch fish and ride sixty miles on horseback. Only this is what happened: from the very first year he took to riding to Gyrino for the post; he used to stand on my ferry and sigh: ‘Ech, Semyon, how long it is since they sent me any money from home!’ ‘You don’t want money, Vassily Sergeyitch,’ says I. ‘What use is it to you? You cast away the past, and forget it as though it had never been at all, as though it had been a dream, and begin to live anew. Don’t listen to the devil,’ says I; ‘he will bring you to no good, he’ll draw you into a snare. Now you want money,’ says I, ‘but in a very little while you’ll be wanting something else, and then more and more. If you want to be happy,’ says I, the chief thing is not to want anything. Yes. . . . If,’ says I, ‘if Fate has wronged you and me cruelly it’s no good asking for her favor and bowing down to her, but you despise her and laugh at her, or else she will laugh at you.’ That’s what I said to him. . . .

“Two years later I ferried him across to this side, and he was rubbing his hands and laughing. ‘I am going to Gyrino to meet my wife,’ says he. ‘She was sorry for me,’ says he; ‘she has come. She is good and kind.’ And he was breathless with joy. So a day later he came with his wife. A beautiful young lady in a hat; in her arms was a baby girl. And lots of luggage of all sorts. And my Vassily Sergeyitch was fussing round her; he couldn’t take his eyes off her and couldn’t say enough in praise of her. ‘Yes, brother Semyon, even in Siberia people can live!’ ‘Oh, all right,’ thinks I, ‘it will be a different tale presently.’ And from that time forward he went almost every week to inquire whether money had not come from Russia. He wanted a lot of money. ‘She is losing her youth and beauty here in Siberia for my sake,’ says he, ‘and sharing my bitter lot with me, and so I ought,’ says he, ‘to provide her with every comfort. . . .’

“To make it livelier for the lady he made acquaintance with the officials and all sorts of riff-raff. And of course he had to give food and drink to all that crew, and there had to be a piano and a shaggy lapdog on the sofa — plague take it! . . . Luxury, in fact, self-indulgence. The lady did not stay with him long. How could she? The clay, the water, the cold, no vegetables for you, no fruit. All around you ignorant and drunken people and no sort of manners, and she was a spoilt lady from Petersburg or Moscow. . . . To be sure she moped. Besides, her husband, say what you like, was not a gentleman now, but a settler — not the same rank.

“Three years later, I remember, on the eve of the Assumption, there was shouting from the further bank. I went over with the ferry, and what do I see but the lady, all wrapped up, and with her a young gentleman, an official. A sledge with three horses. . . . I ferried them across here, they got in and away like the wind. They were soon lost to sight. And towards morning Vassily Sergeyitch galloped down to the ferry. ‘Didn’t my wife come this way with a gentleman in spectacles, Semyon?’ ‘She did,’ said I; ‘you may look for the wind in the fields!’ He galloped in pursuit of them. For five days and nights he was riding after them. When I ferried him over to the other side afterwards, he flung himself on the ferry and beat his head on the boards of the ferry and howled. ‘So that’s how it is,’ says I. I laughed, and reminded him ‘people can live even in Siberia!’ And he beat his head harder than ever. . . .

“Then he began longing for freedom. His wife had slipped off to Russia, and of course he was drawn there to see her and to get her away from her lover. And he took, my lad, to galloping almost every day, either to the post or the town to see the commanding officer; he kept sending in petitions for them to have mercy on him and let him go back home; and he used to say that he had spent some two hundred roubles on telegrams alone. He sold his land and mortgaged his house to the Jews. He grew gray and bent, and yellow in the face, as though he was in consumption. If he talked to you he would go, khee–khee–khee,. . . and there were tears in his eyes. He kept rushing about like this with petitions for eight years, but now he has grown brighter and more cheerful again: he has found another whim to give way to. You see, his daughter has grown up. He looks at her, and she is the apple of his eye. And to tell the truth she is all right, good-looking, with black eyebrows and a lively disposition. Every Sunday he used to ride with her to church in Gyrino. They used to stand on the ferry, side by side, she would laugh and he could not take his eyes off her. ‘Yes, Semyon,’ says he, ‘people can live even in Siberia. Even in Siberia there is happiness. Look,’ says he, ‘what a daughter I have got! I warrant you wouldn’t find another like her for a thousand versts round.’ ‘Your daughter is all right,’ says I, ‘that’s true, certainly.’ But to myself I thought: ‘Wait a bit, the wench is young, her blood is dancing, she wants to live, and there is no life here.’ And she did begin to pine, my lad. . . . She faded and faded, and now she can hardly crawl about. Consumption.

“So you see what Siberian happiness is, damn its soul! You see how people can live in Siberia. . . . He has taken to going from one doctor to another and taking them home with him. As soon as he hears that two or three hundred miles away there is a doctor or a sorcerer, he will drive to fetch him. A terrible lot of money he spent on doctors, and to my thinking he had better have spent the money on drink. . . . She’ll die just the same. She is certain to die, and then it will be all over with him. He’ll hang himself from grief or run away to Russia — that’s a sure thing. He’ll run away and they’ll catch him, then he will be tried, sent to prison, he will have a taste of the lash. . . .”

“Good! good!” said the Tatar, shivering with cold.

“What is good?” asked Canny.

“His wife, his daughter. . . . What of prison and what of sorrow! — anyway, he did see his wife and his daughter. . . . You say, want nothing. But ‘nothing’ is bad! His wife lived with him three years — that was a gift from God. ‘Nothing’ is bad, but three years is good. How not understand?”

Shivering and hesitating, with effort picking out the Russian words of which he knew but few, the Tatar said that God forbid one should fall sick and die in a strange land, and be buried in the cold and dark earth; that if his wife came to him for one day, even for one hour, that for such happiness he would be ready to bear any suffering and to thank God. Better one day of happiness than nothing.

Then he described again what a beautiful and clever wife he had left at home. Then, clutching his head in both hands, he began crying and assuring Semyon that he was not guilty, and was suffering for nothing. His two brothers and an uncle had carried off a peasant’s horses, and had beaten the old man till he was half dead, and the commune had not judged fairly, but had contrived a sentence by which all the three brothers were sent to Siberia, while the uncle, a rich man, was left at home.

“You will get used to it!” said Semyon.

The Tatar was silent, and stared with tear-stained eyes at the fire; his face expressed bewilderment and fear, as though he still did not understand why he was here in the darkness and the wet, beside strangers, and not in the Simbirsk province.

Canny lay near the fire, chuckled at something, and began humming a song in an undertone.

“What joy has she with her father?” he said a little later. “He loves her and he rejoices in her, that’s true; but, mate, you must mind your p’s and q’s with him, he is a strict old man, a harsh old man. And young wenches don’t want strictness. They want petting and ha-ha-ha! and ho-ho-ho! and scent and pomade. Yes. . . . Ech! life, life,” sighed Semyon, and he got up heavily. “The vodka is all gone, so it is time to sleep. Eh? I am going, my lad. . . .”

Left alone, the Tatar put on more twigs, lay down and stared at the fire; he began thinking of his own village and of his wife. If his wife could only come for a month, for a day; and then if she liked she might go back again. Better a month or even a day than nothing. But if his wife kept her promise and came, what would he have to feed her on? Where could she live here?

“If there were not something to eat, how could she live?” the Tatar asked aloud.

He was paid only ten kopecks for working all day and all night at the oar; it is true that travelers gave him tips for tea and for vodkas but the men shared all they received among themselves, and gave nothing to the Tatar, but only laughed at him. And from poverty he was hungry, cold, and frightened. . . . Now, when his whole body was aching and shivering, he ought to go into the hut and lie down to sleep; but he had nothing to cover him there, and it was colder than on the river-bank; here he had nothing to cover him either, but at least he could make up the fire. . . .

In another week, when the floods were quite over and they set the ferry going, none of the ferrymen but Semyon would be wanted, and the Tatar would begin going from village to village begging for alms and for work. His wife was only seventeen; she was beautiful, spoilt, and shy; could she possibly go from village to village begging alms with her face unveiled? No, it was terrible even to think of that. . . .

It was already getting light; the barge, the bushes of willow on the water, and the waves could be clearly discerned, and if one looked round there was the steep clay slope; at the bottom of it the hut thatched with dingy brown straw, and the huts of the village lay clustered higher up. The cocks were already crowing in the village.

The rusty red clay slope, the barge, the river, the strange, unkind people, hunger, cold, illness, perhaps all that was not real. Most likely it was all a dream, thought the Tatar. He felt that he was asleep and heard his own snoring. . . . Of course he was at home in the Simbirsk province, and he had only to call his wife by name for her to answer; and in the next room was his mother. . . . What terrible dreams there are, though! What are they for? The Tatar smiled and opened his eyes. What river was this, the Volga?

Snow was falling.

“Boat!” was shouted on the further side. “Boat!”

The Tatar woke up, and went to wake his mates and row over to the other side. The ferrymen came on to the river-bank, putting on their torn sheepskins as they walked, swearing with voices husky from sleepiness and shivering from the cold. On waking from their sleep, the river, from which came a breath of piercing cold, seemed to strike them as revolting and horrible. They jumped into the barge without hurrying themselves. . . . The Tatar and the three ferrymen took the long, broad-bladed oars, which in the darkness looked like the claws of crabs; Semyon leaned his stomach against the tiller. The shout on the other side still continued, and two shots were fired from a revolver, probably with the idea that the ferrymen were asleep or had gone to the pot-house in the village.

“All right, you have plenty of time,” said Semyon in the tone of a man convinced that there was no necessity in this world to hurry — that it would lead to nothing, anyway.

The heavy, clumsy barge moved away from the bank and floated between the willow-bushes, and only the willows slowly moving back showed that the barge was not standing still but moving. The ferrymen swung the oars evenly in time; Semyon lay with his stomach on the tiller and, describing a semicircle in the air, flew from one side to the other. In the darkness it looked as though the men were sitting on some antediluvian animal with long paws, and were moving on it through a cold, desolate land, the land of which one sometimes dreams in nightmares.

They passed beyond the willows and floated out into the open. The creak and regular splash of the oars was heard on the further shore, and a shout came: “Make haste! make haste!”

Another ten minutes passed, and the barge banged heavily against the landing-stage.

“And it keeps sprinkling and sprinkling,” muttered Semyon, wiping the snow from his face; “and where it all comes from God only knows.”

On the bank stood a thin man of medium height in a jacket lined with fox fur and in a white lambskin cap. He was standing at a little distance from his horses and not moving; he had a gloomy, concentrated expression, as though he were trying to remember something and angry with his untrustworthy memory. When Semyon went up to him and took off his cap, smiling, he said:

“I am hastening to Anastasyevka. My daughter’s worse again, and they say that there is a new doctor at Anastasyevka.”

They dragged the carriage on to the barge and floated back. The man whom Semyon addressed as Vassily Sergeyitch stood all the time motionless, tightly compressing his thick lips and staring off into space; when his coachman asked permission to smoke in his presence he made no answer, as though he had not heard. Semyon, lying with his stomach on the tiller, looked mockingly at him and said:

“Even in Siberia people can live — can li-ive!”

There was a triumphant expression on Canny’s face, as though he had proved something and was delighted that things had happened as he had foretold. The unhappy helplessness of the man in the foxskin coat evidently afforded him great pleasure.

“It’s muddy driving now, Vassily Sergeyitch,” he said when the horses were harnessed again on the bank. “You should have put off going for another fortnight, when it will be drier. Or else not have gone at all. . . . If any good would come of your going — but as you know yourself, people have been driving about for years and years, day and night, and it’s alway’s been no use. That’s the truth.”

Vassily Sergeyitch tipped him without a word, got into his carriage and drove off.

“There, he has galloped off for a doctor!” said Semyon, shrinking from the cold. “But looking for a good doctor is like chasing the wind in the fields or catching the devil by the tail, plague take your soul! What a queer chap, Lord forgive me a sinner!”

The Tatar went up to Canny, and, looking at him with hatred and repulsion, shivering, and mixing Tatar words with his broken Russian, said: “He is good . . . good; but you are bad! You are bad! The gentleman is a good soul, excellent, and you are a beast, bad! The gentleman is alive, but you are a dead carcass. . . . God created man to be alive, and to have joy and grief and sorrow; but you want nothing, so you are not alive, you are stone, clay! A stone wants nothing and you want nothing. You are a stone, and God does not love you, but He loves the gentleman!”

Everyone laughed; the Tatar frowned contemptuously, and with a wave of his hand wrapped himself in his rags and went to the campfire. The ferrymen and Semyon sauntered to the hut.

“It’s cold,” said one ferryman huskily as he stretched himself on the straw with which the damp clay floor was covered.

“Yes, it’s not warm,” another assented. “It’s a dog’s life. . . .”

They all lay down. The door was thrown open by the wind and the snow drifted into the hut; nobody felt inclined to get up and shut the door: they were cold, and it was too much trouble.

“I am all right,” said Semyon as he began to doze. “I wouldn’t wish anyone a better life.”

“You are a tough one, we all know. Even the devils won’t take you!”

Sounds like a dog’s howling came from outside.

“What’s that? Who’s there?”

“It’s the Tatar crying.”

“I say. . . . He’s a queer one!”

“He’ll get u-used to it!” said Semyon, and at once fell asleep.

The others were soon asleep too. The door remained unclosed.

The Lady With The Dog

IT was said that a new person had appeared on the sea-front: a lady with a little dog. Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, who had by then been a fortnight at Yalta, and so was fairly at home there, had begun to take an interest in new arrivals. Sitting in Verney’s pavilion, he saw, walking on the sea-front, a fair-haired young lady of medium height, wearing a béret; a white Pomeranian dog was running behind her.

And afterwards he met her in the public gardens and in the square several times a day. She was walking alone, always wearing the same béret, and always with the same white dog; no one knew who she was, and every one called her simply “the lady with the dog.”

“If she is here alone without a husband or friends, it wouldn’t be amiss to make her acquaintance,” Gurov reflected.

He was under forty, but he had a daughter already twelve years old, and two sons at school. He had been married young, when he was a student in his second year, and by now his wife seemed half as old again as he. She was a tall, erect woman with dark eyebrows, staid and dignified, and, as she said of herself, intellectual. She read a great deal, used phonetic spelling, called her husband, not Dmitri, but Dimitri, and he secretly considered her unintelligent, narrow, inelegant, was afraid of her, and did not like to be at home. He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago — had been unfaithful to her often, and, probably on that account, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them “the lower race.”

It seemed to him that he had been so schooled by bitter experience that he might call them what he liked, and yet he could not get on for two days together without “the lower race.” In the society of men he was bored and not himself, with them he was cold and uncommunicative; but when he was in the company of women he felt free, and knew what to say to them and how to behave; and he was at ease with them even when he was silent. In his appearance, in his character, in his whole nature, there was something attractive and elusive which allured women and disposed them in his favour; he knew that, and some force seemed to draw him, too, to them.

Experience often repeated, truly bitter experience, had taught him long ago that with decent people, especially Moscow people — always slow to move and irresolute — every intimacy, which at first so agreeably diversifies life and appears a light and charming adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy, and in the long run the situation becomes unbearable. But at every fresh meeting with an interesting woman this experience seemed to slip out of his memory, and he was eager for life, and everything seemed simple and amusing.

One evening he was dining in the gardens, and the lady in the béret came up slowly to take the next table. Her expression, her gait, her dress, and the way she did her hair told him that she was a lady, that she was married, that she was in Yalta for the first time and alone, and that she was dull there. . . . The stories told of the immorality in such places as Yalta are to a great extent untrue; he despised them, and knew that such stories were for the most part made up by persons who would themselves have been glad to sin if they had been able; but when the lady sat down at the next table three paces from him, he remembered these tales of easy conquests, of trips to the mountains, and the tempting thought of a swift, fleeting love affair, a romance with an unknown woman, whose name he did not know, suddenly took possession of him.

He beckoned coaxingly to the Pomeranian, and when the dog came up to him he shook his finger at it. The Pomeranian growled: Gurov shook his finger at it again.

The lady looked at him and at once dropped her eyes.

“He doesn’t bite,” she said, and blushed.

“May I give him a bone?” he asked; and when she nodded he asked courteously, “Have you been long in Yalta?”

“Five days.”

“And I have already dragged out a fortnight here.”

There was a brief silence.

“Time goes fast, and yet it is so dull here!” she said, not looking at him.

“That’s only the fashion to say it is dull here. A provincial will live in Belyov or Zhidra and not be dull, and when he comes here it’s ‘Oh, the dulness! Oh, the dust!’ One would think he came from Grenada.”

She laughed. Then both continued eating in silence, like strangers, but after dinner they walked side by side; and there sprang up between them the light jesting conversation of people who are free and satisfied, to whom it does not matter where they go or what they talk about. They walked and talked of the strange light on the sea: the water was of a soft warm lilac hue, and there was a golden streak from the moon upon it. They talked of how sultry it was after a hot day. Gurov told her that he came from Moscow, that he had taken his degree in Arts, but had a post in a bank; that he had trained as an opera-singer, but had given it up, that he owned two houses in Moscow. . . . And from her he learnt that she had grown up in Petersburg, but had lived in S—- since her marriage two years before, that she was staying another month in Yalta, and that her husband, who needed a holiday too, might perhaps come and fetch her. She was not sure whether her husband had a post in a Crown Department or under the Provincial Council — and was amused by her own ignorance. And Gurov learnt, too, that she was called Anna Sergeyevna.

Afterwards he thought about her in his room at the hotel — thought she would certainly meet him next day; it would be sure to happen. As he got into bed he thought how lately she had been a girl at school, doing lessons like his own daughter; he recalled the diffidence, the angularity, that was still manifest in her laugh and her manner of talking with a stranger. This must have been the first time in her life she had been alone in surroundings in which she was followed, looked at, and spoken to merely from a secret motive which she could hardly fail to guess. He recalled her slender, delicate neck, her lovely grey eyes.

“There’s something pathetic about her, anyway,” he thought, and fell asleep.

II

A week had passed since they had made acquaintance. It was a holiday. It was sultry indoors, while in the street the wind whirled the dust round and round, and blew people’s hats off. It was a thirsty day, and Gurov often went into the pavilion, and pressed Anna Sergeyevna to have syrup and water or an ice. One did not know what to do with oneself.

In the evening when the wind had dropped a little, they went out on the groyne to see the steamer come in. There were a great many people walking about the harbour; they had gathered to welcome some one, bringing bouquets. And two peculiarities of a well-dressed Yalta crowd were very conspicuous: the elderly ladies were dressed like young ones, and there were great numbers of generals.

Owing to the roughness of the sea, the steamer arrived late, after the sun had set, and it was a long time turning about before it reached the groyne. Anna Sergeyevna looked through her lorgnette at the steamer and the passengers as though looking for acquaintances, and when she turned to Gurov her eyes were shining. She talked a great deal and asked disconnected questions, forgetting next moment what she had asked; then she dropped her lorgnette in the crush.

The festive crowd began to disperse; it was too dark to see people’s faces. The wind had completely dropped, but Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna still stood as though waiting to see some one else come from the steamer. Anna Sergeyevna was silent now, and sniffed the flowers without looking at Gurov.

“The weather is better this evening,” he said. “Where shall we go now? Shall we drive somewhere?”

She made no answer.

Then he looked at her intently, and all at once put his arm round her and kissed her on the lips, and breathed in the moisture and the fragrance of the flowers; and he immediately looked round him, anxiously wondering whether any one had seen them.

“Let us go to your hotel,” he said softly. And both walked quickly.

The room was close and smelt of the scent she had bought at the Japanese shop. Gurov looked at her and thought: “What different people one meets in the world!” From the past he preserved memories of careless, good-natured women, who loved cheerfully and were grateful to him for the happiness he gave them, however brief it might be; and of women like his wife who loved without any genuine feeling, with superfluous phrases, affectedly, hysterically, with an expression that suggested that it was not love nor passion, but something more significant; and of two or three others, very beautiful, cold women, on whose faces he had caught a glimpse of a rapacious expression — an obstinate desire to snatch from life more than it could give, and these were capricious, unreflecting, domineering, unintelligent women not in their first youth, and when Gurov grew cold to them their beauty excited his hatred, and the lace on their linen seemed to him like scales.

But in this case there was still the diffidence, the angularity of inexperienced youth, an awkward feeling; and there was a sense of consternation as though some one had suddenly knocked at the door. The attitude of Anna Sergeyevna — “the lady with the dog” — to what had happened was somehow peculiar, very grave, as though it were her fall — so it seemed, and it was strange and inappropriate. Her face dropped and faded, and on both sides of it her long hair hung down mournfully; she mused in a dejected attitude like “the woman who was a sinner” in an old-fashioned picture.

“It’s wrong,” she said. “You will be the first to despise me now.”

There was a water-melon on the table. Gurov cut himself a slice and began eating it without haste. There followed at least half an hour of silence.

Anna Sergeyevna was touching; there was about her the purity of a good, simple woman who had seen little of life. The solitary candle burning on the table threw a faint light on her face, yet it was clear that she was very unhappy.

“How could I despise you?” asked Gurov. “You don’t know what you are saying.”

“God forgive me,” she said, and her eyes filled with tears. “It’s awful.”

“You seem to feel you need to be forgiven.”

“Forgiven? No. I am a bad, low woman; I despise myself and don’t attempt to justify myself. It’s not my husband but myself I have deceived. And not only just now; I have been deceiving myself for a long time. My husband may be a good, honest man, but he is a flunkey! I don’t know what he does there, what his work is, but I know he is a flunkey! I was twenty when I was married to him. I have been tormented by curiosity; I wanted something better. ‘There must be a different sort of life,’ I said to myself. I wanted to live! To live, to live! . . . I was fired by curiosity . . . you don’t understand it, but, I swear to God, I could not control myself; something happened to me: I could not be restrained. I told my husband I was ill, and came here. . . . And here I have been walking about as though I were dazed, like a mad creature; . . . and now I have become a vulgar, contemptible woman whom any one may despise.”

Gurov felt bored already, listening to her. He was irritated by the naïve tone, by this remorse, so unexpected and inopportune; but for the tears in her eyes, he might have thought she was jesting or playing a part.

“I don’t understand,” he said softly. “What is it you want?”

She hid her face on his breast and pressed close to him.

“Believe me, believe me, I beseech you . . .” she said. “I love a pure, honest life, and sin is loathsome to me. I don’t know what I am doing. Simple people say: ‘The Evil One has beguiled me.’ And I may say of myself now that the Evil One has beguiled me.”

“Hush, hush! . . .” he muttered.

He looked at her fixed, scared eyes, kissed her, talked softly and affectionately, and by degrees she was comforted, and her gaiety returned; they both began laughing.

Afterwards when they went out there was not a soul on the sea-front. The town with its cypresses had quite a deathlike air, but the sea still broke noisily on the shore; a single barge was rocking on the waves, and a lantern was blinking sleepily on it.

They found a cab and drove to Oreanda.

“I found out your surname in the hall just now: it was written on the board — Von Diderits,” said Gurov. “Is your husband a German?”

“No; I believe his grandfather was a German, but he is an Orthodox Russian himself.”

At Oreanda they sat on a seat not far from the church, looked down at the sea, and were silent. Yalta was hardly visible through the morning mist; white clouds stood motionless on the mountain-tops. The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, soothed and spellbound in these magical surroundings — the sea, mountains, clouds, the open sky — Gurov thought how in reality everything is beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence.

A man walked up to them — probably a keeper — looked at them and walked away. And this detail seemed mysterious and beautiful, too. They saw a steamer come from Theodosia, with its lights out in the glow of dawn.

“There is dew on the grass,” said Anna Sergeyevna, after a silence.

“Yes. It’s time to go home.”

They went back to the town.

Then they met every day at twelve o’clock on the sea-front, lunched and dined together, went for walks, admired the sea. She complained that she slept badly, that her heart throbbed violently; asked the same questions, troubled now by jealousy and now by the fear that he did not respect her sufficiently. And often in the square or gardens, when there was no one near them, he suddenly drew her to him and kissed her passionately. Complete idleness, these kisses in broad daylight while he looked round in dread of some one’s seeing them, the heat, the smell of the sea, and the continual passing to and fro before him of idle, well-dressed, well-fed people, made a new man of him; he told Anna Sergeyevna how beautiful she was, how fascinating. He was impatiently passionate, he would not move a step away from her, while she was often pensive and continually urged him to confess that he did not respect her, did not love her in the least, and thought of her as nothing but a common woman. Rather late almost every evening they drove somewhere out of town, to Oreanda or to the waterfall; and the expedition was always a success, the scenery invariably impressed them as grand and beautiful.

They were expecting her husband to come, but a letter came from him, saying that there was something wrong with his eyes, and he entreated his wife to come home as quickly as possible. Anna Sergeyevna made haste to go.

“It’s a good thing I am going away,” she said to Gurov. “It’s the finger of destiny!”

She went by coach and he went with her. They were driving the whole day. When she had got into a compartment of the express, and when the second bell had rung, she said:

“Let me look at you once more . . . look at you once again. That’s right.”

She did not shed tears, but was so sad that she seemed ill, and her face was quivering.

“I shall remember you . . . think of you,” she said. “God be with you; be happy. Don’t remember evil against me. We are parting forever — it must be so, for we ought never to have met. Well, God be with you.”

The train moved off rapidly, its lights soon vanished from sight, and a minute later there was no sound of it, as though everything had conspired together to end as quickly as possible that sweet delirium, that madness. Left alone on the platform, and gazing into the dark distance, Gurov listened to the chirrup of the grasshoppers and the hum of the telegraph wires, feeling as though he had only just waked up. And he thought, musing, that there had been another episode or adventure in his life, and it, too, was at an end, and nothing was left of it but a memory. . . . He was moved, sad, and conscious of a slight remorse. This young woman whom he would never meet again had not been happy with him; he was genuinely warm and affectionate with her, but yet in his manner, his tone, and his caresses there had been a shade of light irony, the coarse condescension of a happy man who was, besides, almost twice her age. All the time she had called him kind, exceptional, lofty; obviously he had seemed to her different from what he really was, so he had unintentionally deceived her. . . .

Here at the station was already a scent of autumn; it was a cold evening.

“It’s time for me to go north,” thought Gurov as he left the platform. “High time!”

III

At home in Moscow everything was in its winter routine; the stoves were heated, and in the morning it was still dark when the children were having breakfast and getting ready for school, and the nurse would light the lamp for a short time. The frosts had begun already. When the first snow has fallen, on the first day of sledge-driving it is pleasant to see the white earth, the white roofs, to draw soft, delicious breath, and the season brings back the days of one’s youth. The old limes and birches, white with hoar-frost, have a good-natured expression; they are nearer to one’s heart than cypresses and palms, and near them one doesn’t want to be thinking of the sea and the mountains.

Gurov was Moscow born; he arrived in Moscow on a fine frosty day, and when he put on his fur coat and warm gloves, and walked along Petrovka, and when on Saturday evening he heard the ringing of the bells, his recent trip and the places he had seen lost all charm for him. Little by little he became absorbed in Moscow life, greedily read three newspapers a day, and declared he did not read the Moscow papers on principle! He already felt a longing to go to restaurants, clubs, dinner-parties, anniversary celebrations, and he felt flattered at entertaining distinguished lawyers and artists, and at playing cards with a professor at the doctors’ club. He could already eat a whole plateful of salt fish and cabbage.

In another month, he fancied, the image of Anna Sergeyevna would be shrouded in a mist in his memory, and only from time to time would visit him in his dreams with a touching smile as others did. But more than a month passed, real winter had come, and everything was still clear in his memory as though he had parted with Anna Sergeyevna only the day before. And his memories glowed more and more vividly. When in the evening stillness he heard from his study the voices of his children, preparing their lessons, or when he listened to a song or the organ at the restaurant, or the storm howled in the chimney, suddenly everything would rise up in his memory: what had happened on the groyne, and the early morning with the mist on the mountains, and the steamer coming from Theodosia, and the kisses. He would pace a long time about his room, remembering it all and smiling; then his memories passed into dreams, and in his fancy the past was mingled with what was to come. Anna Sergeyevna did not visit him in dreams, but followed him about everywhere like a shadow and haunted him. When he shut his eyes he saw her as though she were living before him, and she seemed to him lovelier, younger, tenderer than she was; and he imagined himself finer than he had been in Yalta. In the evenings she peeped out at him from the bookcase, from the fireplace, from the corner — he heard her breathing, the caressing rustle of her dress. In the street he watched the women, looking for some one like her.

He was tormented by an intense desire to confide his memories to some one. But in his home it was impossible to talk of his love, and he had no one outside; he could not talk to his tenants nor to any one at the bank. And what had he to talk of? Had he been in love, then? Had there been anything beautiful, poetical, or edifying or simply interesting in his relations with Anna Sergeyevna? And there was nothing for him but to talk vaguely of love, of woman, and no one guessed what it meant; only his wife twitched her black eyebrows, and said:

“The part of a lady-killer does not suit you at all, Dimitri.”

One evening, coming out of the doctors’ club with an official with whom he had been playing cards, he could not resist saying:

“If only you knew what a fascinating woman I made the acquaintance of in Yalta!”

The official got into his sledge and was driving away, but turned suddenly and shouted:

“Dmitri Dmitritch!”

“What?”

“You were right this evening: the sturgeon was a bit too strong!”

These words, so ordinary, for some reason moved Gurov to indignation, and struck him as degrading and unclean. What savage manners, what people! What senseless nights, what uninteresting, uneventful days! The rage for card-playing, the gluttony, the drunkenness, the continual talk always about the same thing. Useless pursuits and conversations always about the same things absorb the better part of one’s time, the better part of one’s strength, and in the end there is left a life grovelling and curtailed, worthless and trivial, and there is no escaping or getting away from it — just as though one were in a madhouse or a prison.

Gurov did not sleep all night, and was filled with indignation. And he had a headache all next day. And the next night he slept badly; he sat up in bed, thinking, or paced up and down his room. He was sick of his children, sick of the bank; he had no desire to go anywhere or to talk of anything.

In the holidays in December he prepared for a journey, and told his wife he was going to Petersburg to do something in the interests of a young friend — and he set off for S—-. What for? He did not very well know himself. He wanted to see Anna Sergeyevna and to talk with her — to arrange a meeting, if possible.

He reached S—- in the morning, and took the best room at the hotel, in which the floor was covered with grey army cloth, and on the table was an inkstand, grey with dust and adorned with a figure on horseback, with its hat in its hand and its head broken off. The hotel porter gave him the necessary information; Von Diderits lived in a house of his own in Old Gontcharny Street — it was not far from the hotel: he was rich and lived in good style, and had his own horses; every one in the town knew him. The porter pronounced the name “Dridirits.”

Gurov went without haste to Old Gontcharny Street and found the house. Just opposite the house stretched a long grey fence adorned with nails.

“One would run away from a fence like that,” thought Gurov, looking from the fence to the windows of the house and back again.

He considered: to-day was a holiday, and the husband would probably be at home. And in any case it would be tactless to go into the house and upset her. If he were to send her a note it might fall into her husband’s hands, and then it might ruin everything. The best thing was to trust to chance. And he kept walking up and down the street by the fence, waiting for the chance. He saw a beggar go in at the gate and dogs fly at him; then an hour later he heard a piano, and the sounds were faint and indistinct. Probably it was Anna Sergeyevna playing. The front door suddenly opened, and an old woman came out, followed by the familiar white Pomeranian. Gurov was on the point of calling to the dog, but his heart began beating violently, and in his excitement he could not remember the dog’s name.

He walked up and down, and loathed the grey fence more and more, and by now he thought irritably that Anna Sergeyevna had forgotten him, and was perhaps already amusing herself with some one else, and that that was very natural in a young woman who had nothing to look at from morning till night but that confounded fence. He went back to his hotel room and sat for a long while on the sofa, not knowing what to do, then he had dinner and a long nap.

“How stupid and worrying it is!” he thought when he woke and looked at the dark windows: it was already evening. “Here I’ve had a good sleep for some reason. What shall I do in the night?”

He sat on the bed, which was covered by a cheap grey blanket, such as one sees in hospitals, and he taunted himself in his vexation:

“So much for the lady with the dog . . . so much for the adventure. . . . You’re in a nice fix. . . .”

That morning at the station a poster in large letters had caught his eye. “The Geisha” was to be performed for the first time. He thought of this and went to the theatre.

“It’s quite possible she may go to the first performance,” he thought.

The theatre was full. As in all provincial theatres, there was a fog above the chandelier, the gallery was noisy and restless; in the front row the local dandies were standing up before the beginning of the performance, with their hands behind them; in the Governor’s box the Governor’s daughter, wearing a boa, was sitting in the front seat, while the Governor himself lurked modestly behind the curtain with only his hands visible; the orchestra was a long time tuning up; the stage curtain swayed. All the time the audience were coming in and taking their seats Gurov looked at them eagerly.

Anna Sergeyevna, too, came in. She sat down in the third row, and when Gurov looked at her his heart contracted, and he understood clearly that for him there was in the whole world no creature so near, so precious, and so important to him; she, this little woman, in no way remarkable, lost in a provincial crowd, with a vulgar lorgnette in her hand, filled his whole life now, was his sorrow and his joy, the one happiness that he now desired for himself, and to the sounds of the inferior orchestra, of the wretched provincial violins, he thought how lovely she was. He thought and dreamed.

A young man with small side-whiskers, tall and stooping, came in with Anna Sergeyevna and sat down beside her; he bent his head at every step and seemed to be continually bowing. Most likely this was the husband whom at Yalta, in a rush of bitter feeling, she had called a flunkey. And there really was in his long figure, his side-whiskers, and the small bald patch on his head, something of the flunkey’s obsequiousness; his smile was sugary, and in his buttonhole there was some badge of distinction like the number on a waiter.

During the first interval the husband went away to smoke; she remained alone in her stall. Gurov, who was sitting in the stalls, too, went up to her and said in a trembling voice, with a forced smile:

“Good-evening.”

She glanced at him and turned pale, then glanced again with horror, unable to believe her eyes, and tightly gripped the fan and the lorgnette in her hands, evidently struggling with herself not to faint. Both were silent. She was sitting, he was standing, frightened by her confusion and not venturing to sit down beside her. The violins and the flute began tuning up. He felt suddenly frightened; it seemed as though all the people in the boxes were looking at them. She got up and went quickly to the door; he followed her, and both walked senselessly along passages, and up and down stairs, and figures in legal, scholastic, and civil service uniforms, all wearing badges, flitted before their eyes. They caught glimpses of ladies, of fur coats hanging on pegs; the draughts blew on them, bringing a smell of stale tobacco. And Gurov, whose heart was beating violently, thought:

“Oh, heavens! Why are these people here and this orchestra! . . .”

And at that instant he recalled how when he had seen Anna Sergeyevna off at the station he had thought that everything was over and they would never meet again. But how far they were still from the end!

On the narrow, gloomy staircase over which was written “To the Amphitheatre,” she stopped.

“How you have frightened me!” she said, breathing hard, still pale and overwhelmed. “Oh, how you have frightened me! I am half dead. Why have you come? Why?”

“But do understand, Anna, do understand . . .” he said hastily in a low voice. “I entreat you to understand. . . .”

She looked at him with dread, with entreaty, with love; she looked at him intently, to keep his features more distinctly in her memory.

“I am so unhappy,” she went on, not heeding him. “I have thought of nothing but you all the time; I live only in the thought of you. And I wanted to forget, to forget you; but why, oh, why, have you come?”

On the landing above them two schoolboys were smoking and looking down, but that was nothing to Gurov; he drew Anna Sergeyevna to him, and began kissing her face, her cheeks, and her hands.

“What are you doing, what are you doing!” she cried in horror, pushing him away. “We are mad. Go away to-day; go away at once. . . . I beseech you by all that is sacred, I implore you. . . . There are people coming this way!”

Some one was coming up the stairs.

“You must go away,” Anna Sergeyevna went on in a whisper. “Do you hear, Dmitri Dmitritch? I will come and see you in Moscow. I have never been happy; I am miserable now, and I never, never shall be happy, never! Don’t make me suffer still more! I swear I’ll come to Moscow. But now let us part. My precious, good, dear one, we must part!”

She pressed his hand and began rapidly going downstairs, looking round at him, and from her eyes he could see that she really was unhappy. Gurov stood for a little while, listened, then, when all sound had died away, he found his coat and left the theatre.

IV

And Anna Sergeyevna began coming to see him in Moscow. Once in two or three months she left S—-, telling her husband that she was going to consult a doctor about an internal complaint — and her husband believed her, and did not believe her. In Moscow she stayed at the Slaviansky Bazaar hotel, and at once sent a man in a red cap to Gurov. Gurov went to see her, and no one in Moscow knew of it.

Once he was going to see her in this way on a winter morning (the messenger had come the evening before when he was out). With him walked his daughter, whom he wanted to take to school: it was on the way. Snow was falling in big wet flakes.

“It’s three degrees above freezing-point, and yet it is snowing,” said Gurov to his daughter. “The thaw is only on the surface of the earth; there is quite a different temperature at a greater height in the atmosphere.”

“And why are there no thunderstorms in the winter, father?”

He explained that, too. He talked, thinking all the while that he was going to see her, and no living soul knew of it, and probably never would know. He had two lives: one, open, seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life running its course in secret. And through some strange, perhaps accidental, conjunction of circumstances, everything that was essential, of interest and of value to him, everything in which he was sincere and did not deceive himself, everything that made the kernel of his life, was hidden from other people; and all that was false in him, the sheath in which he hid himself to conceal the truth — such, for instance, as his work in the bank, his discussions at the club, his “lower race,” his presence with his wife at anniversary festivities — all that was open. And he judged of others by himself, not believing in what he saw, and always believing that every man had his real, most interesting life under the cover of secrecy and under the cover of night. All personal life rested on secrecy, and possibly it was partly on that account that civilised man was so nervously anxious that personal privacy should be respected.

After leaving his daughter at school, Gurov went on to the Slaviansky Bazaar. He took off his fur coat below, went upstairs, and softly knocked at the door. Anna Sergeyevna, wearing his favourite grey dress, exhausted by the journey and the suspense, had been expecting him since the evening before. She was pale; she looked at him, and did not smile, and he had hardly come in when she fell on his breast. Their kiss was slow and prolonged, as though they had not met for two years.

“Well, how are you getting on there?” he asked. “What news?”

“Wait; I’ll tell you directly. . . . I can’t talk.”

She could not speak; she was crying. She turned away from him, and pressed her handkerchief to her eyes.

“Let her have her cry out. I’ll sit down and wait,” he thought, and he sat down in an arm-chair.

Then he rang and asked for tea to be brought him, and while he drank his tea she remained standing at the window with her back to him. She was crying from emotion, from the miserable consciousness that their life was so hard for them; they could only meet in secret, hiding themselves from people, like thieves! Was not their life shattered?

“Come, do stop!” he said.

It was evident to him that this love of theirs would not soon be over, that he could not see the end of it. Anna Sergeyevna grew more and more attached to him. She adored him, and it was unthinkable to say to her that it was bound to have an end some day; besides, she would not have believed it!

He went up to her and took her by the shoulders to say something affectionate and cheering, and at that moment he saw himself in the looking-glass.

His hair was already beginning to turn grey. And it seemed strange to him that he had grown so much older, so much plainer during the last few years. The shoulders on which his hands rested were warm and quivering. He felt compassion for this life, still so warm and lovely, but probably already not far from beginning to fade and wither like his own. Why did she love him so much? He always seemed to women different from what he was, and they loved in him not himself, but the man created by their imagination, whom they had been eagerly seeking all their lives; and afterwards, when they noticed their mistake, they loved him all the same. And not one of them had been happy with him. Time passed, he had made their acquaintance, got on with them, parted, but he had never once loved; it was anything you like, but not love.

And only now when his head was grey he had fallen properly, really in love — for the first time in his life.

Anna Sergeyevna and he loved each other like people very close and akin, like husband and wife, like tender friends; it seemed to them that fate itself had meant them for one another, and they could not understand why he had a wife and she a husband; and it was as though they were a pair of birds of passage, caught and forced to live in different cages. They forgave each other for what they were ashamed of in their past, they forgave everything in the present, and felt that this love of theirs had changed them both.

In moments of depression in the past he had comforted himself with any arguments that came into his mind, but now he no longer cared for arguments; he felt profound compassion, he wanted to be sincere and tender. . . .

“Don’t cry, my darling,” he said. “You’ve had your cry; that’s enough. . . . Let us talk now, let us think of some plan.”

Then they spent a long while taking counsel together, talked of how to avoid the necessity for secrecy, for deception, for living in different towns and not seeing each other for long at a time. How could they be free from this intolerable bondage?

“How? How?” he asked, clutching his head. “How?”

And it seemed as though in a little while the solution would be found, and then a new and splendid life would begin; and it was clear to both of them that they had still a long, long road before them, and that the most complicated and difficult part of it was only just beginning.

Donal That Was Rich And Jack That Was Poor

Once there were two brothers named Donal and Jack. Donal was hired by a rich man who had one daughter, and when his master died, he married the daughter.

Jack, he lived close by, with his wife and a big family of children, and he was very poor; but Donal, he was in no way good to Jack, and would never reach his hand to him with a thing. And when the hunger would come into Jack’s house, Jack, he used to think it little harm to steal a bullock out of Donal’s big flock, and kill it for his family.

At length Donal began to suspect that Jack was taking his bullocks, but he didn’t know how he would find out for sure. Donal’s old mother-in-law proposed a plan by which she could catch Jack. She made Donal put her into a big chest that had little spy-holes in it, and put in with her beef and brandy enough to last her nine days. Then Donal was to take the chest to Jack’s, and have it left there on some excuse.

Donal went to Jack, and said he had a big chest of things that was in his way, and asked Jack if he would be so good as to allow him to leave it in his kitchen for a week or so. Jack said he was very welcome to put in ten chests if he liked. So Donal had the chest with the mother-in-law and her provisions in it, carried to Jack’s, and planted in a good place in the kitchen.

On the very first night that the chest and the mother-in-law were at Jack’s, he stole and killed and brought in another bullock, and the old woman was watching it all through the spy-holes of the chest. And after Jack and his wife and children had eaten a hearty supper off the bullock, he and his wife began talking over one thing and another, and says he: “I’d like to know what Donal has in that chest.”

So off he went to a locksmith, and he got the loan of a whole bundle of keys, and he came and tried them all in the chest till he got one that opened it.

When Jack found what was in the chest, he lost little time taking away the beef and the brandy, and he put in their place empty bottles and clean-picked bones, and locked the old woman up with these again.

At the end of nine days, Donal came for the chest. He thanked Jack for giving him house room for it for so long, and said he had now room for it himself and so he had come to take it home. And behold you, when Donal and his wife opened the chest at home, there was the old woman dead of starvation, and a lot of bones and empty bottles in the chest.

Says Donal: “She got greedy, and ate and drank the whole of the provisions the first day, and this is her deserving.”

Well, Donal and the wife waked and buried her, with a purse of money under her head to pay her way in the next world, as they used to do in those days.

Jack, of course, he went to the wake and to the funeral, and sympathized sore with Donal and Donal’s wife both. But the very next night after the funeral, Jack dug up the corpse to get the money, as it was so useful to him. Then he took the old woman’s body on his shoulder and carried it off to Donal’s, and went down into Donal’s wine cellar. He put it sitting in a chair by a puncheon there, and put a glass into its hand, and turned on the wine.

In the morning Donal’s first race was always to the cellar to have a drink, and when he came down this morning he fell over and fainted with the fright when he saw his old mother-in-law sitting by the puncheon drinking. When he came to himself he had her taken up and laid out in the wake-room again.

Jack, he came walking over to see Donal like to bid him the time of day in the morning. “Good morning to you, Donal,” says he, “and how do you find yourself this morning?”

“Och! Och! Och! Jack! Jack!” says Donal, says he, “I’m in a terrible fix entirely.”

“Why, what’s the matter?” says Jack.

“Why,” says he, “my old mother-in-law got up out of the grave in the night time and came back; and when I went down to the cellar in the morning to get a drink of wine, there was the old lady sitting by the puncheon, and she having the puncheon drunk empty. What am I to do at all, at all?” says he.

“Well,” says Jack, says he, “I know why she got up out of her grave again.”

“For what did she?” says Donal.

“Because you didn’t bury her half decently,” says Jack, “you only put ten pound under her head, and it’s fifty pound you should have put.”

“Well, I’m sure sorry for that,” says Donal, “and I’ll make certain that I bury her decently enough this time.”

So Jack went with him to help him bury her this day again, and he saw Donal put a purse of fifty sovereigns under her head. “Now,” says Donal, says he, “she’ll surely not come back to bother me.”

But that night Jack went to the graveyard and raised the body again, and got the fifty pounds. And he took the body then with him on his shoulder off to Donal’s, and he went into the stables, and he put the body sitting on the finest big horse in Donal’s stable, and he tied it there, and he tied a sword into its hand. Now Donal was to have gone off the next morning, riding on a little black mare that was a favorite of his, to the town to pay the accounts of the funeral; and Jack, he had known this, and when Donal came down in the very early morning, when it was still dark, he went into the stable, and he took out the little black mare.

The horse on which Jack had tied the old woman was a great companion of this little black mare, and both of them used to run on the grass together; so when the little black mare was taken out by Donal, the horse (which Jack had left loose) trotted out after.

When Donal saw the appearance of the horse coming out of the stable, and on its back the old mother-in-law with the sword lifted up in her hand, he gave a yell, and he jumped up on the mare, and off as fast as he could gallop.

Off after the little mare the big horse started, and the faster Donal went, the faster came the big horse trotting behind him; and every time he looked over his shoulder, there he saw his old mother-in-law with the sword lifted, ready, as he thought, to cut him down, and all that he could do, he couldn’t gain ground.

Jack, he was prepared for all this. He was concealed a half a mile along the way, and when Donal came tearing up he came out of where he was concealed, and said to Donal: “What’s the matter?”

And Donal pointed back, and Jack he leaped and got hold of the big horse and stopped it, and led it back home, and took the old woman off its back.

When Donal ventured home again, he was in very low spirits entirely, and he said that if his mother-in-law was going to rise every time she was buried and haunt him all the days of his life, he might as well end his life at once.

“Not too quick!” says Jack, says he. “What will you give me, and I’ll save you from your mother-in-law?”

“O! I’ll give you,” says he, “anything at all, in moderation, that you ask.”

“Well,” says Jack, says he, “if you pension me, I’ll live here always, and I’ll watch by your mother-in-law’s grave every night, and keep her from rising.”

Says Donal: “If you do that, I’ll give you any pension you ask.”

Jack asked one hundred pounds a year, and Donal agreed to it. They buried the mother-in-law the third time, and Jack worked for his pension so faithfully and so well, that she never rose more.

Donal and his wife lived middling happy, but Jack and his wife and children, with their pension of one hundred pounds a year, were the happiest family in all Ireland.