Monday, October 24, 2016


Shades Calling

Tidings from Lara Biyuts, this blog writer.
Something new, something old. Life is beautiful, but Shades Calling, from time to time.

One of my stories is published and available for free on Kindle.
Contemporary, paranormal. Welcome reviewers !

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MF94810



Thanks to my Estonian Facebook friends, I finally found the final resting place of my great grandfather (1887-1956).

http://www.kalmistud.ee/haudi?filter_maetud_eesnimi=Maetu+eesnimi&filter_maetud_perenimi=bijuts&action=maetud&popup=0&yldotsing=1&filter_maetud_kalmistu=


On the Net, for several years, I’ve been looking for my father’s far cousins, namesakes and our surname’s origin, with this last unknown to me as well as to my late father, and I succeeded. In my online research I proceeded from the fact that my great grandfather’s cousins, who lived in St Petersburg, where he lived too, came from villages near the city of Minks and the city of Grodno in Belarus. The name of this village sounds exactly as our surname. The village Biyuts is near the city of Vitebsk.
For my all namesakes. This is what I found on a Belarusian online forum about our surname' origin, information in Russian and Polish, about the village Biyuts in 3 differents spellings:

По книге "Виленская губерния: Полный список населенных мест со статистическими данными о каждом поселении, сост. И.И. Тошкевич, Вильно, 1905г." в деревне Биюти (или, как писали раньше, Биюци) Посоповского общества Мядельской волости Вилейского уезда Виленской губернии проживал 121 человек, из них мужского пола было 45 человек, женского пола - 76 человек. Ближайшая железнодорожная станция, Поставы, находилась в 18 верстах, волостное правление - в 16 верстах. Расстояние до уездного города (Вилейки) - 58 верст, площадь земельных угодий деревни - 143 десятины. Как и повсюду в этих краях, среди жителей деревни были, вероятно, люди православного, римско-католического и иудейского исповедания (последние мне, правда, не встречались; кроме того, о деревне нет упоминания на еврейских поисковых ресурсах). Своей церкви в этой деревне, по-видимому, не было, и я предполагаю, что православные ее жители окормлялись в церкви деревни Груздово, расположенной в паре километров к северо-востоку.
В настоящее время деревня Биюти входит в состав Юнковского сельсовета Поставского района Витебской области Республики Беларусь. В телефонном справочнике Поставского района перечислены только два ее жителя..по телефонной книге в дер. Биюти указаны сейчас две фамилии - Боровко и Мацкевич.
но составлена книга И.И. Иошкевичем. В оригинале написано I.I. Iошкевичем. в 1850 году в дер. Биюци Груздовской плебании Мядзельского с/общества по ревизской сказке числится государственных крестьян 8 мужчин и 12 женщин, при этом всего две фамилии Папко и Петкевич.
В польском списке 1921 года именуется Bijucie (гмина Miadziol Дуниловичского повета).
Деревня Биюти и ее обитатели В межвоенное время принадлежала Польше. wojewodztwo wilenskie Виленское воеводство, powiat postawski Поставский повет, gmina wiejska Hruzdowo гмина сельская Груздово
Виленская губерния была образована в 1795 г. после третьего раздела Речи Посполитой и присоединения к Российской империи литовских и западно-белорусских земель.

forum.vgd
4 ноября 2006 8:22 -- в метриках Юшковичской церкви за 1872 г. мне в восприемниках попадался Игнатий Змеевский из деревни Биюц. Это Вилейский уезд, Мядельская волость.

Груздовская (греко-униатская) церковь, 1836 года (Ф.915 О.1 Д. 23):
4 октября - Фома Мацкевич, вдовец из д. Пожарцев, Лугайский прихожанин, обвенчался с вдовою Юлианою ПОДГАЙСКОЙ из БИЮЦ, Груздовской прихожанкою. Одним их свидетелей был Стефан ПОДГАЙСКИЙ.
8 ноября - Иосиф Змеевский, младенец (так в метрике!) из Груздово, Лугайский прихожанин, обвенчался с девицею Агафией Мословской. Одним из свидетелей был Игнатий ПОДГАЙСКИЙ из БИЮЦ.
К сожалению, в метриках нет ни возраста молодоженов, ни информации об их родителях.

интересным источником, в том числе и генеалогической информации в том числе и по Виленской губернии: Акты, издаваемые Комиссиею Высочайше учрежденною для разбора древних актов в Вильне. - Вильна, 1865-1898
Акты представляют собой 39 томов с документами земских, городских, подкоморских и копных судов Бресткой, Гродненской и Виленской губерний, а также с декретами Главного Литовского Трибунала, а также тематические тома с документами по истории Церковной Унии в России, по истории бывшей Холмской епархии, о литовских боярах, с "инвентарями" ряда имений и т.д.
Практически все тома (начиная с 3-его) снабжены именными, географическими и предметными индексами!!!, что конечно же облегчает поиск.
Тома 8-10 содержат документы (акты, декреты на русском и/или польском/белорусском языках) Виленских Земского и Городского Судов, а также акты Виленского Магистрата и Магдебургии. Каждый том - это приблизительно 150-200 документов за 16-17-18 века.
Тома 11-13 и 15 содержат декреты Главного Литовского Трибунала (до 1686 года).
Том 20 - Акты (1529-1804), касающиеся города Вильны.

7 февраля 2007 - из описанных в оп.1 дд. 3 (1869) - по всем церквям, 4 - 7 (1870-1873) - по Старо-Мядельской и Юшковской. Подгайских неt. В 1872-м в записях по Юшковской ц. есть упоминание прихожанки из д.БИЮЦ, родившей ребенка вне брака, но больше крестьян из этой деревни неt.

This is a picture of the village, 55'' north latitude, 27'' east longitude:


Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Andreï Makine (b.1957) and Lara Biyuts are authors who write in second languages. Feel free adding more authors to the list.
Happy season holidays ! Read the winter tale in my recent novel Silver Thread Spinner.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/262541
British fin de siècle http://revueblanche.blogspot.com/2015/04/blood-flower.html
Sincerely Yours -- Lara B.

Monday, June 06, 2016

undead

As I said more than once, on different sites, Eric Stanislaus Stenbock (1860-1895) -- poet, writer and heir to an estate near Kolga in Estonia -- is author of a vampire story, one of the only two which I appreciate. Talking of turnskin stories, I have to say that Stenbock’s story “The Other Side: A Breton Legend” (1893) is one of my two of choice as well. Literature is a matter of taste. Read the story here:


The other story of a turnskin is “Lokis” (1869) by Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870). Set in Lithuania, it is the horror story of a man who seems to be half bear and half man.
Plot (Wiki):
It is set in rural Lithuania. The plot revolves around a young man who is suspected to be half-human half-bear, since he was born after his mother was mauled (and, as believed by peasants, raped) by a bear. The title is a misspelling of Lithuanian lokys for “bear”. As such, the plot may be classified into a werewolf theme. Through the novel, the protagonist, Michel/Lokis, manifests signs of animal-like behavior until he finally kills his bride by a bite to her throat and runs away into the forest on his wedding night.
The screen version of the story see here:


One of nicest and poetic movies I ever saw. I appreciate it with the careful attitude towards literature and settings.
The movie on Horrorpedia:


My “Extraordinary Story of a Turnskin” is available here:




More about Eric Stenbock read here:







Sunday, June 05, 2016

fern flower



read fiction by Lara Biyuts

CACTUS FLOWER -- FERN FLOWER

“However, the flower is closely guarded by evil spirits and
anyone who finds the flower will have access to earthly riches,
which have never benefited anyone, so the decision to pick the flower or
leave it alone is left up to the individual.” (Wikipedia)

I

St John’s Eve, by nightfall. The sound of the Moonlight Sonata flowed from the opened window of the Manor. The big old garden was full of dark shadows -- underneath the trees, in the midst of the lush clumps of lilacs, on the lawns and pathways. Light spots of white flowers over the parterre of the house; the dewy grass glittered green in dark. The old house and landscape of the estate, full of crepuscular significance, modern allusions and old legends, seemed awaiting a miracle on the night in the late 19th century. 
All windows were opened as well as the paned door to the terrace, but the lit room was the only. The gray limestone house looked white with windowpanes gleaming. Coming into the dark rooms, the moonbeams slid over the walls, cast lacy shadows on the floor and let see that the house was empty. Everyone was out, on the warm night, except the old tutor who feared frogs and dew, and who stayed to play piano in solitude.
Jasmines along the front of the house and along the broad staircase. Enjoying the aroma of jasmines, a human figure was standing on the small square between the house and the group of old lime-trees and pines in the beginning of a big alley. The cigar in the human’s hand was almost gone. “What’s become of them all?” the man asked to himself, “Where’re they hanging about?” At that instant, he realized something, turned and went to the alley, leaving the light and music behind.
  The sanded path gritted beneath his tread; leaves rustled in the breeze overhead. Darkness underneath the lime-trees, only a glowworm in the grass on the left of the pathway... Lo!  A voice.
He heard someone’s saying his name at a distance of a yard. Two or more females talked sitting on a bench, most likely. Only an old lime-tree was between him and the talkers. He paused to listen to.
 The voice that said his name belonged to Trudy, cousin of his schoolmate on a visit at the Manor; the second belonged to his cousin Eulampia.
Eulampia said, “Why to talk about Alex? The question is you. I no longer know what to think of you.”
  “I no longer know what to think of myself!..” Trudy said, “Do you think I can think all right?”
  “Formerly, your problem was that you could not fall in love with anybody. Now, when you are in love… Are you in love -- once and for all?”
  “I am. Once and for all!”
  “Why do you do all in your power to show him that you aren’t? Why do you tease him?”
  “Do I tease him?”
  “You smile. You know that you do. He could fall in love with you…”
  “He? In love? With me? Are you sure?”
 “Why not? But he nicknamed you Cactus Flower.”
“Did he?!.. Villain.”
“Really, I take your feelings.”
“Villain and milksop.”
“Trudy, you are moody. If I were you, I’d…”
  The lime-tree’s branches rustled, moving like a living creature’s paws.
  “Who’s that?!” the talkers said.
  Silence. The dark shade was frozen behind the lime-tree. The glowworm was shining green in the grass, with the red light of the thrown out cigar nearby.
  The talk resumed. “It all is very nice, but it doesn’t make my problem easier.”
  The moonbeam fell on the bench, gliding over the white dresses of the two damsels, making their faces shining white. The dark shade watched them.
  A cloud veiled the moon; the alley became dark again. Two white silhouettes on the bench. The talkers’ voices began sounding cheerful.
  Trudy said, “I’ve gathered herbs.”
  “What kind of herbs?” Eulampia said.
 “One should gather thirteen kinds of herbs for the night -- keeping silence -- and put the herbs under the pillow. When abed, one should keep silence too. Thinking of anything. If I see him in my sleep, well then… Ah, it’s time!”
 “What, we are going there together? Nobody else?” Eulampia’s voice rang with notes of hesitation.
 “Yes, we together. Nobody should know!” Trudy said excitedly.
“To the Old Pond?” Eulampia said.
 “Yes. We’ll go through the lower gate and leave it open. If they see it, they’ll think we’ve gone to the well. But we’ll go round the Park and then to the Pond.” 
  “Secretly? All right, but it’s very damp there, and two ditches on the way.”
  “There are the best ferns. That’s why the Pond is special! I always believed that there are water-nymphs. Though I don’t believe…”
  Silence.
The dark shade left the umbrage of the lime-trees and went towards the Manor.

II

Overgrown with reeds, the Old Pond had much water in the center, with the moon’s reflex. Old branchy birch-trees were there on the high side of the Pond, with the thick forest surrounding them and the Pond. Only one meadow spread uphill going towards the estate. Both the Pond and the forest were in a deep hollow, and at the hour, the hollow was full of a silvery steaming mist. In the umbrage of the old birch-trees, two silent shades were so dark and motionless that they could be taken for two stumps or trees. Only the red light of the indispensable cigar betrayed belonging of one of the shades to the great tribe of smokers in general and young smokers in particular. “Here they come, at long last!” the smoker said.
  Indeed, a distant snapping of dry twigs got louder; a moment more and light spots of the white dresses appeared on the top of the high Pond side. “How nice! How nice here!” Trudy’s voice cried out.
  Eulampia said, “It’s too damp. We have to gather skirts up to knees!”
  Someone’s laughter behind the birch-tress.
  “Eulampia, did you hear that?”
  “No, why?”
  “Someone’s laughter.”
  “It only seemed to you. Well… Where are we going?”
  “To the forest on the other side of the Pond. Wait a moment… I want to take the glowworm. Look at it, how beautiful it glitters, over there, in the sedge!” Trudy came down and leaned over the Pond.
It was difficult to get the glowworm, because it was deep in the dewy grass, that’s why Trudy never saw what happened on the top of the Pond side.

III

Hearing a small screech and footfall sound, she thought, “Eulampia stepped on a frog.” Next, it was too quiet around. “Eulampia!”
 Eulampia’s voice responded from a distance, somewhere in the forest.
 Trudy cried out, “Where are you going without me?”
 Silence.
The silvery fog swirled over the dark waters, sprawling between the trees, where the fog was unusually white and taking perpetually and fluently various obscure shapes. Some weird shades seemed to get waving into a big garland, moving and rising, seeking to part and fly away. It seemed like a dreadfully white water-nymph could come out of the drowsy waters any time now, twinkle green glassy eyes and begin to shake glittering water drops off her long green tresses. It seemed that a wood-goblin that lurked in the black boughs of the dry birch-tree could start screeching, any minute… But a strange drawling cry was heard in the thicket and died away. 
With her pit-a-pat heart, Trudy ran up the Pond side, quickly, though it was somewhat difficult, and she looked round.
She was alone. Actually, it seemed to her that a dark shade glimpsed behind a tree – but it could be merely a play of her imagination. A distant screech of an owl. Trudy gave a start and hastened to the forest.
She believed Eulampia was on the other side of the Pond where the ferns grew thickly and wonderfully. “To her, to her! It’s fearsome to be here, alone…” It was dark and damp on her way in the forest.
Fallen leaves rustled underfoot; the dark starlit sky hardly could be visible between the crowns of old tress. The pathway went through dense thickets. “Eulampia!” her clear voice sounded in the silence of the night. A strange wild screech instead of a reply -- once again, from another side… Trudy ran forward, through the thicket.
What’s that? What a fearsome dark figure with an ugly head?.. It’s but an old stump, mossy all over. But… over there, ahead, it’s not a stump. Someone’s standing! Something tall and white is standing motionless and awaiting… The closer, the longer it looks. It cannot be Eulampia or the other human. What it is?..
It’s only a view of a glade between two old aspens!
The water-meadow sagged under her feet. Hummocks overgrown with cowberry shrubs and tussocks of fern here and there. A marsh! Sweat dewed her brow. The moon had vanished, and the sky was dark with bright stars. The forest was like a dark wall around; the thick fog was swirling over the glade, and its white streaks flowed towards the forest to disappear between trees. Dozens of glowworms were shining over the moss-grown hummocks. Suddenly, in the silence, a bell rang.
The brassy sound came from a distant village. It has announced a beginning of a midnight mass. That’s the midnight, the magic hour when water-nymphs came from dark waters, when the legendary Fern Flower bloomed somewhere in a dense thicket, and when a sly wood-goblin prowled around screeching from time to time… Here, Trudy saw a tall dark shade on the glade. The shade moved. It moved towards her! Getting closer, closer, approaching her! On the instant, at her feet, in the middle of a fern, a bright red sparkle flashed.
The Fern Flower? It’s blooming? It’s not but a fib? Fearing to look back, trembling all over, she leaned and held her hand out…
 “Don’t touch it! It can hurt!” a voice said behind her back. 
 If it was a wood-goblin’s voice, then the wood-goblin sounded rather familiar.
 “It’s you?! Nothing more?” she said with notes of irony in her tone. She pretended so skillfully that it did credit to her self-possession, especially at the moments when she was nearly swooning with agitation.
 The wood-goblin sounded polite and quite himself, when he explained by saying, “I’m forcing my way.”
 However, there were no further explanations. The Old Pond proved to be nearby.
Both Eulampia and her companion, Alex’s schoolmate, were nearby too, turning up as though from nowhere.
“All looked obscure on the weird night, moving in some extraordinary way. Aren’t you ashamed, Eulampia?”
  “Why? You should tell where you’ve been!”
  “Actually, you are a wrong person to be told about anything.”
 Alex, the smoker with no cigar, said, “A wood-goblin fooled Trudy.”
 Trudy said, “Did you drop your nasty cigar into the fern?”
 He said, “I forced my way -- what was left to me to do, in the shrubs and ferns? Playing pranks on you was an absolute must, tonight. This is the Summer solstice. Joie de vivre.”

The End

more stories is in the book "Crepuscular Rays" by Lara Biyuts :






Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3 Blue Flowers

“Two Blue Flowers and One More”
  
About blue flowers in works by Gustave Meyrink and Novalis, my readers knew.

The novel “Heinrich von Ofterdingen” by Novalis (1772 – 1801) -- a poet, author, and philosopher of early German Romanticism – tells a story of a dream of the Blue Flower. Maybe, a sort of a blue lily, but the author gives the flower some mystic features of a beautiful woman.



Originated in the novel and symbolizing the victory of the poetic over the material, the flower became an emblem for German Romanticism.


The short story “Cardinal Napellus” by Gustav Meyrink (1868 – 1932) -- an Austrian author, most famous for his novel “The Golem” -- tells about the other blue flower, quite real. Aconitum napellus, or monkshood, the poisonous plant has flowers dark purple to bluish-purple, helmet-shaped.



In the short story, the flower is a human tall, with steel-blue flowers.
One of personages, an old man of the name of Radspieler tells about his life:

“In our neck of the woods, there is one religious sect Blue Fraters whose members bury each other alive when feeling the nearness of death. The building of their friary is still standing, with the blazon carved in stone above the entrance: the poisonous plant with five blue petals and the upper one looking like a monk’s hood -- Aconitum napellus – wolfsbane.
I joined the friary when I was a young man, and I left it in the twilight of my life.
The friary precincts have a garden – there is a bed of the mentioned poisonous plant, and in summer the monks water the flowers with blood from wounds received during the scourging. Joining the friary, everyone plans the flower, which is to be given a Christian name like of baptism. My flower bore the name of Jerome and it fed on my blood, while I pined for a miracle, for years and in vain, waiting for the Invisible Gardener who could wash the roots of my life with a drop of water.
The baptism of blood. The symbolic meaning of this weird ritual suggests that a human is to plant his own soul in the Garden of Eden and to assist in its growing by watering with blood of desires.
A legend has it that the first wolfsbane sprang up -- a human tall, flowery all over – on the grave mound of the founder of this ascetic sect, the legendary Cardinal Napellus, on a clear night. When they opened the coffin they saw there was not his dead body inside. They say that the saint turned into the plant, and all wolfsbanes came from it.” (Translation is mine. – L. Biyuts)


Gustave Meyrink’s quotes:

“Read the sacred writings of all the peoples on Earth. Through all of them runs, like a red thread, the hidden Science of attaining and maintaining wakefulness.” (Gustave Meyrink)

“Man is firmly convinced that he is awake; in reality he is caught in a net of sleep and dreams which he has unconsciously woven himself.” (Gustave Meyrink)

Now, about the third blue flower. The author, who added it to the previous two, was this writer. The anchusa azurea is the Blue Flower of my paranormal fiction “Extraordinary Story of a Turnskin”.



Set in a trans-Carpathian land the story about the Turnskin may be dated 18th century, but this medley of events, pictures and scenes could happen much earlier.
New, stylish and truly ancient, the story suggests one more theory of werewolves’ origin.






Friday, January 15, 2016

Gifts

About gifts.

Please, read the humorous tale by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
"A Work Of Art"

Sasha Smirnov, the only son of his mother, holding under his arm, something wrapped up in No. 223 of the Financial News, assumed a sentimental expression, and went into Dr. Koshelkov's consulting-room.

"Ah, dear lad!" was how the doctor greeted him. "Well! how are we feeling? What good news have you for me?"

Sasha blinked, laid his hand on his heart and said in an agitated voice: "Mamma sends her greetings to you, Ivan Nikolaevitch, and told me to thank you. . . . I am the only son of my mother and you have saved my life . . . you have brought me through a dangerous illness and . . . we do not know how to thank you."

"Nonsense, lad!" said the doctor, highly delighted. "I only did what anyone else would have done in my place."

"I am the only son of my mother . . . we are poor people and cannot of course repay you, and we are quite ashamed, doctor, although, however, mamma and I . . . the only son of my mother, earnestly beg you to accept in token of our gratitude . . . this object, which . . . An object of great value, an antique bronze. . . . A rare work of art."

"You shouldn't!" said the doctor, frowning. "What's this for!"

"No, please do not refuse," Sasha went on muttering as he unpacked the parcel. "You will wound mamma and me by refusing. . . . It's a fine thing . . . an antique bronze. . . . It was left us by my deceased father and we have kept it as a precious souvenir. My father used to buy antique bronzes and sell them to connoisseurs . . . Mamma and I keep on the business now."

Sasha undid the object and put it solemnly on the table. It was a not very tall candelabra of old bronze and artistic workmanship. It consisted of a group: on the pedestal stood two female figures in the costume of Eve and in attitudes for the description of which I have neither the courage nor the fitting temperament. The figures were smiling coquettishly and altogether looked as though, had it not been for the necessity of supporting the candlestick, they would have skipped off the pedestal and have indulged in an orgy such as is improper for the reader even to imagine.

Looking at the present, the doctor slowly scratched behind his ear, cleared his throat and blew his nose irresolutely.

"Yes, it certainly is a fine thing," he muttered, "but . . . how shall I express it? . . . it's . . . h'm . . . it's not quite for family reading. It's not simply decolleté but beyond anything, dash it all. . . ."

"How do you mean?"

"The serpent-tempter himself could not have invented anything worse. . . . Why, to put such a phantasmagoria on the table would be defiling the whole flat."

"What a strange way of looking at art, doctor!" said Sasha, offended. "Why, it is an artistic thing, look at it! There is so much beauty and elegance that it fills one's soul with a feeling of reverence and brings a lump into one's throat! When one sees anything so beautiful one forgets everything earthly. . . . Only look, how much movement, what an atmosphere, what expression!"

"I understand all that very well, my dear boy," the doctor interposed, "but you know I am a family man, my children run in here, ladies come in."

"Of course if you look at it from the point of view of the crowd," said Sasha, "then this exquisitely artistic work may appear in a certain light. . . . But, doctor, rise superior to the crowd, especially as you will wound mamma and me by refusing it. I am the only son of my mother, you have saved my life. . . . We are giving you the thing most precious to us and . . . and I only regret that I have not the pair to present to you. . . ."

"Thank you, my dear fellow, I am very grateful . . . Give my respects to your mother but really consider, my children run in here, ladies come. . . . However, let it remain! I see there's no arguing with you."

"And there is nothing to argue about," said Sasha, relieved. "Put the candlestick here, by this vase. What a pity we have not the pair to it! It is a pity! Well, good-bye, doctor."

After Sasha's departure the doctor looked for a long time at the candelabra, scratched behind his ear and meditated.

"It's a superb thing, there's no denying it," he thought, "and it would be a pity to throw it away. . . . But it's impossible for me to keep it. . . . H'm! . . . Here's a problem! To whom can I make a present of it, or to what charity can I give it?"

After long meditation he thought of his good friend, the lawyer Uhov, to whom he was indebted for the management of legal business.

"Excellent," the doctor decided, "it would be awkward for him as a friend to take money from me, and it will be very suitable for me to present him with this. I will take him the devilish thing! Luckily he is a bachelor and easy-going."

Without further procrastination the doctor put on his hat and coat, took the candelabra and went off to Uhov's.

"How are you, friend!" he said, finding the lawyer at home. "I've come to see you . . . to thank you for your efforts. . . . You won't take money so you must at least accept this thing here. . . . See, my dear fellow. . . . The thing is magnificent!"

On seeing the bronze the lawyer was moved to indescribable delight.

"What a specimen!" he chuckled. "Ah, deuce take it, to think of them imagining such a thing, the devils! Exquisite! Ravishing! Where did you get hold of such a delightful thing?"

After pouring out his ecstasies the lawyer looked timidly towards the door and said: "Only you must carry off your present, my boy. . . . I can't take it. . . ."

"Why?" cried the doctor, disconcerted.

"Why . . . because my mother is here at times, my clients . . . besides I should be ashamed for my servants to see it."

"Nonsense! Nonsense! Don't you dare to refuse!" said the doctor, gesticulating. "It's piggish of you! It's a work of art! . . . What movement. . . what expression! I won't even talk of it! You will offend me!"

"If one could plaster it over or stick on fig-leaves . . . "

But the doctor gesticulated more violently than before, and dashing out of the flat went home, glad that he had succeeded in getting the present off his hands.

When he had gone away the lawyer examined the candelabra, fingered it all over, and then, like the doctor, racked his brains over the question what to do with the present.

"It's a fine thing," he mused, "and it would be a pity to throw it away and improper to keep it. The very best thing would be to make a present of it to someone. . . . I know what! I'll take it this evening to Shashkin, the comedian. The rascal is fond of such things, and by the way it is his benefit tonight."

No sooner said than done. In the evening the candelabra, carefully wrapped up, was duly carried to Shashkin's. The whole evening the comic actor's dressing-room was besieged by men coming to admire the present; the dressing-room was filled with the hum of enthusiasm and laughter like the neighing of horses. If one of the actresses approached the door and asked: "May I come in?" the comedian's husky voice was heard at once: "No, no, my dear, I am not dressed!"

After the performance the comedian shrugged his shoulders, flung up his hands and said: "Well what am I to do with the horrid thing? Why, I live in a private flat! Actresses come and see me! It's not a photograph that you can put in a drawer!"

"You had better sell it, sir," the hairdresser who was disrobing the actor advised him. "There's an old woman living about here who buys antique bronzes. Go and enquire for Madame Smirnov . . . everyone knows her."

The actor followed his advice. . . . Two days later the doctor was sitting in his consulting-room, and with his finger to his brow was meditating on the acids of the bile. All at once the door opened and Sasha Smirnov flew into the room. He was smiling, beaming, and his whole figure was radiant with happiness. In his hands he held something wrapped up in newspaper.

"Doctor!" he began breathlessly, "imagine my delight! Happily for you we have succeeded in picking up the pair to your candelabra! Mamma is so happy. . . . I am the only son of my mother, you saved my life. . . ."

And Sasha, all of a tremor with gratitude, set the candelabra before the doctor. The doctor opened his mouth, tried to say something, but said nothing: he could not speak.

http://www.online-literature.com/anton_chekhov/1194/

Next, please, confer, seeing the picture --
below, one of cartoons by Herluf Bidstrup (1912-1988) "Return of the Gift"


Personally I love both the tale and cartoon. NB: Herluf Bidstrup was a Commie of Denmark, but I always appreciated his art. For my part, I want all Commies and leftists to go to hell, but I did what I wanted by publishing this blog post, for the sake of history, and because it's funny and the cartoon is chucklesome. Thank you for reading.