By Aleksandr Kondratiev

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Additional info for On the Banks of the Yaryn: A Demonological Novel (Middlebury Studies in Russian Language and Literature)

Example text

Shouted the third. And arm-in-arm with their new friend, the rusalkas led her into the water again. ” asked the fourth along the way. ” the fifth questioned. But at this point the Vodyanoi returned from his stroll and immediately began to show signs of attention to the new one again, now slapping her loudly on the hips with his webbed paw, now trying to tickle her, his frog’s mouth repellingly agape in silent laughter, which made his fat ungirdled belly rock. 12 o n t h e b a n k s o f t h e ya ry n “Don’t resist him, just put up with him,” one of her new friends again advised her in a whisper.

4 But Aniska somehow managed to defend her innocence, shifting suspicion to her rival Stepanida. The little demon’s corpse managed, however, to awaken some memories in the oak idol. A few days later, during a storm, when the master of the deep pool in the river was lying next to him on the silty bottom, listening to the distant rumble of thunder, the oak god soundlessly whispered to his neighbor: “I remember how my sons would harness a chariot for me and how I would drive off in it to defeat, with fiery wasp-arrows, my primordial enemies—not those little frogs which you showed me the other day but foggy, grey, and hazy-black ones, twisting and twirling in dust columns along the roads, running around people’s roofs, and appearing in poisonous swamp vapors.

It’s true. While people lifted up their hands to me and brought me sacrifices, I felt that at the same time I heard their entreaties and rode in a heavy chariot, escorting frightened devils with my fiery arrows. ” the Vodyanoi asked. “And how do I know? ” “Catch me a pair and bring and show them to me,” was the answer which followed. “When I have free time, why not? But now I’m busy,” the Vodyanoi said, getting to his feet. The sovereign of the river bottom wanted to show the former oak god his might and, passing by the drowned girl sitting now in a posture of despair, he drew near the meadow bank, came up and, climbing out of the water, whistled once, and then once more.

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