The Invaders, and Other Stories : Part 4, Chapter 1 : Kholstomír: The History Of A Horse

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1887

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(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "There are people (we ourselves are such) who realize that our Government is very bad, and who struggle against it." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)

(? - 1935)
Nathan Haskell Dole (August 31, 1852 – May 9, 1935) was an American editor, translator, and author. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Harvard University in 1874. He was a writer and journalist in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He translated many works of Leo Tolstoy, and books of other Russians; novels of the Spaniard Armando Palacio Valdés (1886–90); a variety of works from the French and Italian. Nathan Haskell Dole was born August 31, 1852, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was the second son of his father Reverend Nathan Dole (1811–1855) and mother Caroline (Fletcher) Dole. Dole grew up in the Fletcher homestead, a strict Puritan home, in Norridgewock, Maine, where his grandmother lived and where his mother moved with her two boys after his father died of tuberculosis. Sophie May wrote her Prudy Books in Norridgewock, which probably showed the sort of life Nathan and his older brother Charles Fletcher Dol... (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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Part 4, Chapter 1

Constantly higher and higher the sky lifted itself, wider and wider spread the dawn, whiter and whiter grew the unpolished silver of the dew, more and more lifeless the sickle of the moon, more vocal the forest. The men began to arise; and at the stables belonging to the bárin were heard with increasing frequency the whinnying of the horses, the stamping of hoofs on the straw, and also the angry, shrill neighing of the animals collecting together, and even disputing with each other over something.

"Noo! you got time enough; mighty hungry, ain't you?" said the old drover, quickly opening the creaking gates. "Where you going?" he shouted, waving his hands at a mare which tried to run through the gate.

Nester, the drover, was dressed in a Cossack coat,[2] with a decorated leather belt around his waist; his knout was slung over his shoulder, and a handkerchief, containing some bread, was tied into his belt. In his* arms he carried a saddle and halter.

The horses were not in the least startled, nor did they show any resentment, at the drover's sarcastic tone: they made believe that it was all the same to them, and leisurely moved back from the gate,—all except one old dark-bay mare, with a long flowing mane, who laid back her ears and quickly turned around. At this opportunity a young mare, who was standing behind, and had nothing at all to do with this, whinnied, and began to kick at the first horse that she fell in with.

"No!" shouted the drover still more loudly and angrily, and turned to the corner of the yard.[3]

Out of all the horses,—there must have been nearly a hundred—that were moving off toward their breakfast, none manifested so little impatience as a piebald gelding, which stood alone in one corner under the shed, and gazed with half-shut eyes, and bit on the oaken lining of the shed.

It is hard to say what enjoyment the piebald gelding got from this, but his expression while doing so was solemn and thoughtful.

"Nonsense!" again cried the drover in the same tone, turning to him; and going up to him he laid the saddle and shiny blanket on a pile of manure near him.

The piebald gelding ceased biting, and looked long at Nester without moving. He did not manifest any sign of mirth or anger or sullenness, but only drew in his whole belly and sighed heavily, heavily, and then turned away. The drover took him by the neck, and gave him his breakfast.

"What are you sighing for?" asked Nester.

The horse switched his tail as though to say, "Well, it's nothing, Nester." Nester put on the blanket and* saddle, whereupon the horse pricked up his ears, expressing as plainly as could be his disgust; but he received nothing but execrations for this "rot," and then the saddle-girth was pulled tight.

At this the gelding tried to swell out; but his mouth was thrust open, and a knee was pressed into his side, so that he was forced to let out his breath. Notwithstanding this, when they got the bit between his teeth, he still pricked back his ears, and even turned round. Though he knew that this was of no avail, yet he seemed to reckon it essential to express his displeasure, and always showed it. When he was saddled, he pawed with his swollen right leg, and began to champ the bit,—here also for some special reason, because it was full time for him to know that there could be no taste in bits.

Nester mounted the gelding by the short stirrups, unwound his knout, freed his Cossack coat from under his knee, settled down in the saddle in that position peculiar to coachmen, hunters, and drivers, and twitched on the reins. The gelding lifted his head, showing a disposition to go where he should be directed, but he stirred not from the spot. He knew that before he went there would be much shouting on the part of him who sat on his back, and many orders to be given to Vaska, the other drover, and to the horses. In fact Nester began to shout, "Vaska! ha, Vaska! have you let out any of the mares,—hey? Where are you, you old devil? No-o! Are you asleep? Open the gate. Let the mares go first," and so on.

The gates creaked. Vaska, morose, and still full of sleep, holding a horse by the bridle, stood at the gate-post and let the horses out. The horses, one* after the other, gingerly stepping over the straw and sniffing it, began to pass out,—the young fillies, the yearlings, the little colts; while the mares with young stepped along needfully, one at a time, avoiding all contact. The young fillies sometimes crowded in two at once, three at once, throwing their heads across each other's backs, and hitting their hoofs against the gates, each time receiving a volley of abuse from the drovers. The colts sometimes kicked the mares whom they did not know, and whinnied loudly in answer to the short neighing of their mothers.

A young filly, full of wantonness, as soon as she got outside the gate, tossed her head up and around, began to back, and whinnied, but nevertheless did not venture to dash ahead of the old gray, grain-bestrewed Zhuldiba, who, with a gentle but solid step, swinging her belly from side to side, was always the dignified leader of the other horses.

After a few moments the lively yard was left in melancholy loneliness; the posts stood out in sadness under the empty sheds, and only the sodden straw, soiled with dung, was to be seen.

Familiar as this picture of emptiness was to the piebald gelding, it seemed to have a melancholy effect upon him. He slowly, as though making a bow, lowered and lifted his head, sighed as deeply as the tightly drawn girth permitted, and dragging his somewhat bent and decrepit legs, he started off after the herd, carrying the old Nester on his bony back.

"I know now. As soon as we get out on the road, he will go to work to make a light, and smoke his wooden pipe with its copper mounting and chain," thought the gelding. "I am glad of this, because it is early in the morning and the dew is on the grass* , and this odor is agreeable to me, and brings up many pleasant recollections. I am sorry only that when the old man has his pipe in his mouth he always becomes excited, gets to imagining things, and sits on one side, far over on one side, and on that side it always hurts. However, God be with him. It's no new thing for me to suffer for the sake of others. I have even come to find some equine satisfaction in this. Let him play that he's cock of the walk, poor fellow; but it's for his own pleasure that he looks so big, since no one sees him at all. Let him ride sidewise," said the horse to himself; and, stepping gingerly on his crooked legs, he walked along the middle of the road.

[1] Dedicated to the memory of M. A. Stakhovitch, the originator of the subject, which was given by his brother to Count Tolstoy.

[2] kasakín.

[3] dvor.

(Source: Published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York, 13 Astor Place, 1887.)

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

November 30, 1886 :
Part 4, Chapter 1 -- Publication.

June 09, 2021 18:10:45 :
Part 4, Chapter 1 -- Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

June 09, 2021 18:55:53 :
Part 4, Chapter 1 -- Last Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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