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330 Nodei, the Priest’s Grandson 143. In no certain tsardom, in no certain land, there lived a priest. The priest was a widower, and this priest had a single daughter of his own. You see, Brother, he watched over her, and whenever he went out somewhere in the parish, he always brought her presents. Now, these parishioners knew that our priest had a daughter, and that it was necessary to send her a gift somehow. And so, he went out into the parish, to a village about twelve versts away.And he went to give someone communion, and he gave a man communion. Well, so then fine, and they received him there very well. And he forgot to get a present for the daughter, and got on his horse and rode home. He was riding along the road, and this human head was burning on the road, and it had all burned up and only ashes remained. He was about to drive by, but then he thought, “Why ride by? Why, there’s a human head burning. I’ll take it, put the ashes in my pocket, carry them home, and bury them.” So he put them in his pocket, and got on his horse again and set off home. Well, when he was riding into the yard, his daughter met him and helped him dismount from his horse. He had a headache, apparently from the wind, and she laid him down in the featherbed. But later, this is what she thought,“Oh, Batiushka, maybe you brought me a present!” So she grabbed in his pocket, and those ashes had meanwhile turned into a little box. So, then she took this little box and said,“Oh, a little box! Fine! But I don’t know how to open it.” So, then she picked it up and licked it, and immediately was pregnant. Some carry them for weeks, but she for hours! It came time to give birth, and she gave birth! So, then they immediately baptized him and named him Nodei, the priest’s grandson. So, then this infant began growing. Some grow by the years, but he by hours.At six weeks, he went out onto the street to play ball with the lads. He’d hit the ball, and the ball would fly off and you couldn’t even see it. If he struck someone in the leg, the leg flew off; if on the arm, the arm was gone; if he struck the head, the head flew off. So then the fathers of these children came to the priest, and they came with a request: “Batiushka! Don’t let your grandson go out onto the street with the other lads. He’s Nodei, the Priest’s Grandson h 331 doing too much damage.”One said that his son had had his head torn off; another said an arm was torn off.“If possible, Batiushka, don’t let him,” they said. So fine, he could keep him in until summer came. Nodei grew as usual, and he said to him:“Well, my dear grandfather, what are we going to do, what work now?” The grandfather was really very happy and said, “My dear daughter! Glory unto the Lord!” he said.“God has granted such an heir. God has sent him. And what a hard worker he is! What shall I do with him? Well, we’ll put him to work. Come along, grandson of mine, we’ll go clear some brush.”“Let’s go, Grandfather.” So they went to this swamp and chose a suitable place. Grandfather began felling a fir, and his grandson said,“Grandfather, don’t you do that. Bless me to do it.” And as soon as he began, he’d no sooner begun to chop it down, than the entire forest began to shake. He’d chop from one side with his axe, and the tree would fly from the other. By noon, he had cleared a good three acres and more. His grandfather said,“We need to chop it more finely and burn it.”And he said,“Grandfather, we’ll put it in piles.” In three days, the brush had been planted. He and his grandfather had planted oats, and it sprouted—and such oats as you’ve never seen! Then a bear took to visiting the oats. The priest went to look at the old brush land and saw that much of the oats had been eaten. He came home, and...


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