23 Dersu Uzala
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241 Dersu Uzala Twilight and Bad Weather. A Stranger’s Camp. The Reunion. Nighttime Conversation. The River Terraces. The Ludevaya Fanza. The Source of the Tadusha River. The Sikhote-Alin. Venyukov Pass. The Li-Fudzin and Dunbeytsa Rivers. The weather deteriorated noticeably that afternoon, and the sky filled with low-moving storm clouds that obscured the mountain tops. This gave the valley a grim appearance; the cliffs that had looked so striking in the sun were now somber, and the river water was dark. I knew what this meant and ordered that we set camp and collect an extra supply of firewood for the night. Once all work to prepare camp was completed, the riflemen asked permission to go hunting. I advised them not to go far and to return to camp earlier than they otherwise might. Zagursky headed out along the Dinzakhe, Turtygin went up the Tadusha, and I stayed with the others at camp. The sun must have dropped below the horizon because it suddenly became dark. The light of day fought for a while yet with the twilight, but it was evident that night would soon engulf first land and then sky. Turtygin returned to camp an hour later and told me that he had come across a hunter’s camp about 2 kilometers away, at the base of a rockymountain. The man asked whowewere,wherewewere going,and if had we been on the trail for a while. When given my name, he quickly gathered his things. This news intrigued me; who could this be? 23 242 The 1906 Expedition The soldier told me that I didn’t need bother going there myself as this stranger had promised to head our way. I was overcome by a strange feeling and was irresistibly drawn to go meet this unknown person. I took my rifle, called for my dog, and quickly started down the trail. At first, right when I moved away from the fire, the evening seemed darker than it really was. But after a moment my eyes acclimated and I could then see the trail. The moon had only just risen, and heavy clouds racedacrosstheskytoobscureit.Itlookedasthoughthemoonwasrushingtowardandthenamongtheclouds .Livingthingsallaroundquieted, and there was the faint chur of grasshoppers in the grass. Ilookedbackbutcouldn’tseethefireatcampanymore;Istoodthere for a moment then continued on. Suddenly my dog ran ahead, barking furiously. I looked up and saw a human figure not far off. “Who’s there?” I called out. In response, I heard a voice that gave me a start: “What kind of people go?” “Dersu! Dersu!” I shouted joyfully, and ran up to meet him. If an outsider had observed us at that moment, he would have seen two men grab at each other as though preparing to fight. Alpa didn’t understanding what was happening and rushed toward Dersu furiously. But she recognized him once closer and her angry barking transitioned to affectionate whines. “Hello, Captain!” said the Gold, recovering. I inundated him with questions, not giving him time to answer one before asking another: “Where did you come from? How did you get here? Where were you? Where are you going?” Finally we both calmed down and began to talk at a normal pace. “My came to Tadusha recently,” he said. “My heard four captains and twelve soldiers at Shimyn (Saint Olga Post). Should go there, my thought. Today see one people and all understand.” We turned back to our camp after talking there for a little while. I walked with elation and joy. I had every reason to be happy—Dersu meant a lot to me. We reached camp a few minutes later, where the riflemen stepped aside and regarded the Gold with curiosity. Dersu Uzala 243 Dersu has neither changed nor aged. He was dressed as before in a jacket and pants of tanned deerskin. He wore a bandana on his head and carried the same rifle; only the shooting stick was new. TheriflemeninstantlyunderstoodthatDersuandIwereoldfriends. He hung his gun from a tree branch and gave me a look over. I could see that our reunion pleased him by the light in his eyes and the smile that played on his lips. I ordered the fire stoked and the tea warmed, then began to ask him where he had been and what he had done these past three years. Dersu told me that after parting ways with me near Lake Khanka, he went up the Noto River, where he trapped sable all winter. He spent the spring in the upper reaches of...


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Subject Headings

  • Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China) -- Description and travel.
  • Natural history -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
  • Dersu Uzala.
  • Arsenʹev, V. K. (Vladimir Klavdievich), 1872-1930 -- Travel -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
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