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MORE TALES BY POLISH AUTHORS

TALES BY POLISH AUTHORS. Translated by ELSE BENECKE. Crown 8vo., cloth, 3s. 6d. net.

"This is a book to be bought and read; it cannot fail to be remembered.... The whole book is full of passionate genius.... It is delightfully translated." The Contemporary Review.

OXFORD B. H. BLACKWELL, BROAD ST.

MORE TALES BY POLISH AUTHORS

TRANSLATED BY ELSE C. M. BENECKE AND MARIE BUSCH

OXFORD B. H. BLACKWELL, BROAD STREET 1916

NOTE

The translators' thanks are due to MM. Szymanski and Zeromski for allowing their stories to appear in English; and to Mr. Nevill Forbes, Reader in Russian in the University of Oxford, Mr. Retinger, and Mr. Stefan Wolff, for granting permission on behalf of the three other authors (or their representatives) whose works are included in this volume; also to Miss Repszówa for much valuable help.

CONTENTS

PAGE MACIEJ THE MAZUR. By Adam Szymanski 1 TWO PRAYERS. By Adam Szymanski 52 THE TRIAL. By W. St. Reymont 86 THE STRONGER SEX. By Stefan Zeromski 112 THE CHUKCHEE. By W. Sieroszewski 146 THE RETURNING WAVE. By Boleslaw Prus 186

POLISH PRONUNCIATION

cz = English ch . sz = English sh . l = English w . ó = English o in "who." a = French "on." e = French in as in "vin." rz and z = French j in "jour." (rz and z after k , p , t , ch = English sh .) ch = Scotch ch in "loch." c = ts .

Pan = Mr. Pani = Mrs. Panna = Miss.

MACIEJ THE MAZUR

BY ADAM SZYMANSKI

After leaving Yakutsk I settled in X , a miserable little town farther up the Lena. The river is neither so cold nor so broad here, but wilder and gloomier. Although the district is some thousands of versts nearer the civilized world, it contains few colonies. The country is rocky and mountainous, and the taiga[1] spreads over it in all directions for hundreds and thousands of versts. It would certainly be difficult to find a wilder or gloomier landscape in any part of the world than the vast tract watered by the Lena in its upper course, almost as far as Yakutsk itself. Taiga, gloomy, wild, and inaccessible, taiga as dense as a wall, covers everything here mountains, ravines, plains, and caverns. Only here and there a grey, rocky cliff, resembling the ruin of a huge monument, rises against this dark background; now and then a vulture circles majestically over the limitless wilderness, or its sole inhabitant, an angry bear, is heard growling.

The few settlements to be found nestle along the rocky banks of the Lena, which is the only highway in this as in all parts of the Yakutsk district. Continual intercourse with Nature in her wildest moods has made the people who live in these settlements so primitive that they are known to the ploughmen in the broad valleys along the Upper Lena, and to the Yakutsk shepherds, as "the Wolves."

The climate is very severe here, and, although the frosts are not as sharp and continuous as in Yakutsk, this country, on account of being the nearest to the Arctic regions, is exposed to the cruel Yakutsk north wind. This is so violent that it even sweeps across to the distant Ural Mountains.

At the influx of the great tributary of the Lena there is a large basin; it was formed by the common agency of the two rivers, and subsequently filled up with mud. This basin is surrounded on every side by fairly high mountains, at times undulating, at times steep. Its north eastern outlet is enclosed by a very high and rocky range, through which both rivers have made deep ravines. X , the capital of the district inhabited by the "Wolf people," lies in this north eastern corner of the basin, partly on a small low rock now separated from the main chain by the bed of the Lena, partly at the foot of the rock between the two rivers... Continue reading book >>




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