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140 The Spider 85. Years ago, in years past, one beautiful spring, in warm summer there occurred such a scandal, such a burden to the earth: Mosquitoes and midges swarmed, biting people, drawing warm blood. A spider appeared, a brave and good lad, and he began shaking his legs and weaving his webs, placing them on the paths and ways where the mosquitoes and midges flew. A dirty fly, a filthy insect, flew and nearly stumbled and fell into the spider’s web. The spider began beating the fly, killing it, grabbing it by the throat. The fly pleaded with the spider:“Oh Father Spider! Do not strike me, do not kill me. I will have many children left as orphans, to go about the yards and torment the dogs.” So the spider let the fly go. It flew off, buzzing about and telling all the mosquitoes and midges,“Hey, you mosquitoes and midges! Go and hide beneath the aspen trunk. A spider has appeared, shaking his legs, weaving webs, and putting them on the paths and ways where mosquitoes and midges fly. He’ll catch you all!”They flew away, crowded in beneath the aspen trunk, and lay there as if dead. The spider came and found a cricket, a cockroach, and a bedbug.“You, cricket, sit on a hillock and dribble tobacco; and you, cockroach, beat a drum; and you, bedbug, go underneath that aspen trunk and spread the news about me that I, spider and fighter, a fine young lad, am no longer alive. I was sent to Kazan, my head was cut off on the block, and they split the block.” The cricket sat down on a hillock and dribbled tobacco, and the cockroach beat the drum, and the bedbug went down beneath the aspen trunk and said,“Why have you hidden here, why are you lying here as if dead? Why, that spider and fighter, that fine young lad, is no longer alive. They sent him to Kazan. In Kazan they cut his head off on the block, and they split the block.” They rejoiced and cheered, and three times they crossed themselves. They flew out almost stumbling and fell into spider’s web. Spider said,“You are such small fry! You should have been my guests more often, drunk a bit of beer and wine, and given some to us!” The Spider h 141 86. Just in recent times there has appeared something new to fuss about: mosquitoes, flies are flying about, stirring up the milk in pots. The spider got angry about this and lay down on its back. It put up webs on all the paths and ways. A bright wasp flew along, an honest widow. She fell in from the top, she got caught in the web. The spider leapt up and beheaded her. The mosquitoes and flies got together: Who would serve as priest, who would wash the corpse, who would sing the dirge? They sang for the bones, placed them in a backpack, and carried those bones to the village of Komarovo [Mosquitoville]. They rang the bells in Perebor. They were heard in Morgunov, the bells’ clapper!—asking a hundred pood of bark! ...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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