Chapter Twenty Two - In The Forests
Evening approached. I had not eaten anything since the evening before, but I was not very hungry. Crossing the fields I gathered some stalks of wheat and chewed on them. I was fine with that. I spent the night in the forest. It seemed to me, I do not know why, that all the roads were watched by patrols who were searching for me; I could not, after all be certain. By chance I had a hand-towel on me, which I used to cover my head. I spent the night dozing, sitting under a tree with my back against the trunk. During the night I heard a dog howl nearby, then a gunshot. I stayed sitting, since I had no idea where to go. It was pitch black.
At dawn I looked all around and went back on the road. However I could not risk asking for bread from the peasants. I saw only people on foot. I was not afraid of the women and so would not hide when I saw them. One particular time I was sitting under a tree by the road. I saw a man carrying an axe was quickly coming up the road. When he got up to where I was he said to me "Why are you resting sitting there? Come with me."
He came up to me and sat down next to me. I asked him if he knew where I might sell a gold cross with a gold chain.
"Why sell it?" he asked me.
"To buy bread" I told him.
"Does anyone here know what these things are worth?" he said. "What are they going to give you for the cross? A pittance. Come with me, we will go just to the village, there they will give you some bread for nothing."
I was afraid to go with him, and so I told him that I was heading in the opposite direction. So we parted and I went down the road by myself.
Soon I saw a woman and young girl working in the fields. I went up to them and asked them for some water. My intention was to ask them for bread. They told me that they did not live very far away and had not brought any water with them. I suggested my cross to them. The accepted, and rather eagerly. To their question "How much do you want for it?" I told them, "well, how much will you give me for it?" The older woman offered me 3 rubles, and I told her that was to little for it. She went to five rubles saying that was all she had. I would not accept it. The younger girl began to beg her mother to buy the cross for her. She even offered to run to the house to get the money, but the mother refused.
I left them without selling my cross, but also without any money.
In a small kitchen garden next to the road, I saw a scarecrow with a hat, and I took the hat and put it on and went on my way. Hatless I would attract unwanted attention. Hunger began to set in. I decided to go into the village and ask for something to eat. In the very first house, quite poor, I was not refused. They gave me a large slice of bread. I then asked for something to drink. The lady of the house offered me water, while expressing her regret that she could not offer me kvass as it was not yet ready.
On the other side of the street I saw a woman who was in her window making gestures and asking me to come to her house. I answered her request. She gave me a good bread roll. "Keep that" she told me, "I am also going to give you some cucumebers."
Putting the cucumbers in my pockets, I left the village, and out in the field I dined well.
I went back on my way and walked until evening. I had to find a tree for the night. I did not want to go into a village. As I was not afraid of wild animals, I decided on a haystack, and climbed on in and went to sleep. I slept well all night. At dawn the chirping of the birds woke me. I found some water to wash my face and went back on my way, going into the villages that I passed and where I was never refused when I asked for some bread. More often I spent my nights in haystacks.
So I lived from day to day, asking only for the direction of X.
One day, I saw a river in the distance, then a bridge, with sentinals on the bridge. A woman with a little boy came by. I asked her "How do I get to X.?"
"Why, that is X." she told me, "and why should you go there, they will arrest you and shoot you!"
"Well, how can you live there then?" I asked her.
"We are registered to live there, but as for you, you are a new person, a stranger..."
"So, what can I do?"
"Stop following the road, you will soon come to a church. Go in there, the priest is a very good man, they can tell you where to go from there."
I followed the brave woman's advice. I immediately came to the church after first vespers. The priest came out. He could see by my appearance who I was and to go into the church and to see the deacon, who could give me the necessary directions. I went in to the church while the parishoners were going out. The deacon was getting ready to leave the church.
"I have come, my father, to beg you..."
"I am at your service. Sit down."
"I am in a temple and hope that you the servant of God, will not deliver me up to them."
The deacon promised me; I told him my story most frankly about what happened to me and told him that I intended to get to Ekaterinburg.
Having listened to me, he wrote out sheet showing the route and tracing my way. He put down the names o many of the villages telling me that I could go through them without being afraid of anything. However he warned me not to go into the area of U..., and that I should leave the road at least a half verst before I got there and to take the road to another village from where I could continue on my way.
As well as the deacon, I met the churchwarden; while apologizing that it was impossible to give me more, he offered me ten rubles. I accepted the money with recognition. The deacon brought me to his house and asked that I stay for supper and spend the night. I thanked him but could not accept his offer for fear that I could bring down unpleasentness to my good hosts should anyone learn of my presence in the village. Then the deacon's wife brought milk from the basement and I feasted, then she gave me two kinds of bread and butter which she put into a small bag.
The deacon told me to cross the river. I crossed it, and happily since just at that moment some peasants were passing by in a small boat to go milk their cows. I asked them if they could take me with them, which they did. I gave them, despite their refusals, fifty kopeks out of the money which the churchwarden had given me.
There were some haystacks by the river. I could see some residences in the distance, but I was so tired that I could not possibly go any further. So I sat down by the river to wait for nightfall. Once it grew dark enough I chose one of the haystacks, made a hole in it, crawled in and went to sleep. It was again nighttime when I woke up and went back on my way, following the deacon's directions exactly.
I went on well. Everywhere I went I was greeted kindly, given food, and during bad weather when it would have been awful to spend the night in the forest or a field, I could even find place in a house.
Finally I got near to U... Just before I got there, I met two men who asked me where I was going. I told them "To U..."
"I have friends there."
"Ah, ok, there is the church, which you can see from here..."
Without entering the town, I took a path around it, exactly as I had been told to do. I found a little village, probably just a little hamlet of the area. I went throught the hamlet, no one in the windows. Finally, I saw a woman. I went over to her and asekd her which path I had to take to avoid the town itself.
"Always go to the right, never the left, when you will get to a bridge they repairing, the town will still be on your right. But be quick, since in the third house there is a Communist living there, see that his his mother passing now and she will immediately tell him that you are here."
So I pressed on along the road indicated. It was a large road, but with very deep ruts in the dried mud. On the side, along the forest, there was a good pathway which I followed. When I turned around I saw that I was being followed by three men in a carriage. I felt danger. A carriage came from the opposite direction. I quickened my pace. My pursuers picked up their pace too, but because of the deep ruts their horse could not go very fast. I lost them after about a quarter verst. When they met up with the second carriage I was already some distance from them and I jumped into the forest. My pursuers did not see me and the carriage hurried past. As for me, I saw this: one of the three men got out of the carriage and spoke to the driver of the second carriage, probably asking if he had seen me. I began to run blindly into the forest and I distinctly heard them following me and calling "comrade!" A second voice also shouted "Comrade!" I did not stop running until I was very certain that I was no longer being followed.
I came back to the fields, tired and wet. At that same edge of the forest I saw some little huts where the peasants would rest while working the fields in summer. I had lost my way, I did not have even the smallest crumb of bread. So I decided to go into the hut to dry off. I got undressed, layed out my clothes and slept on the straw, but it was impossible to sleep. With some difficulty I finally dozed off when I suddenly heard the sound of a carriage which stopped right in front of the hut. It was impossible to escape. "This is the end!" I thought. I quickly go dressed and went out.
I saw in front of me a man and a woman who were in the carriage. I asked them "Is this your hut?"
They replied that it was. I apologized for having gone in to it without their permission.
"It is nothing to worry about," they said,"Sleep, in the grace of God. We are leaving to go work, and will leave you some bread, salt, potatos, tea, and sugar. There is a little cooking pot and firedog in the hut. The river is nearby and you can find firewood in the forest. Here are some matches too."
The two left for their work and I stayed and set up house. I cooked the potatos and boiled water for tea and I ate very well. Afterwards, I went to find my hosts working in their fields, to thank them again and to ask them where I could find a spot for the night. They gave me the directions to follow and also gave me bread. I set off on the path they told me.
I fell onto two men, one of them a prisoner, who were working by a mill. Two women were with them. One of them, elderly, pressed around me:
Hello, where are you going?" she asked me very sweetly.
Her excess of politeness only inspired distrust in me and I kept silent.
"Come to our house. Many of "your kind" have spent the night with us. Here is my son."
She spoke to him, "Vassia can he stay the night with us?"
"Sure, sure, he can sleep" the other said.
The old woman went on: "There is our village, but first go to the staroste and ask him permission to sleep here."
I could see that the village was not very far, so I went there. There they showed me the staroste's house. His wife was in the courtyard and told me that her husband was away, but would be back. He came back not soon after. I asked his permission to spend the night in the village.
"I give it to you with pleasure, I regret that I am not able to offer you hospitality in my own house, as I am staroste."
I told him that it was those other people who had advised me to ask him for his permission to spend the night with them. At that moment, the mother and son were just coming back in from their work. The staroste's wife gave me a slice of bread, apologizing for doing so in public.
Despite my mistrust of the family who had invited me, I still accepted their invitation. They unhitched the horses and set the table for supper. The old woman continued to smother me with kindness. The two men, her son and the prisoner, talked to each other in low voices. After supper they left to get fresh hay. I offered to help them, and they accepted. We brought the hay in the same cart as ourselves. The old woman suggested I go to bed. After spending a little time with them, I went up to the garret, constantly suspicous of the demeanor of the old woman and men. So, almost immediately I heard the men go out into the courtyard, hitch the horse and leave. I heard the daughter in law say "Why are you doing that?"
"Shut up, shut up!" the old woman told her.
I never shut an eye. I felt like I had been caught in a trap. The women went to sleep. Day began to break. I got dressed. The old woman, awakened, saw me and followed me out to the road.
"But where are you going now, listen, the others will be back, and we will have tea together."
I thanked her and pressed on to leave, certain that my "hosts" were already in the middle of taking steps to keep me there.
I continued on my way, exactly following the directions I had been given. The peasants I met all greeted me with kindness, always good, giving me something to eat and asking no questions, even when keeping me for the night; who I was, where I was going, etc. There was only one time when I asked an old peasant for some bread, he shouted: "What bread? We don't even have enough for ourselves to eat. Go away!"
So I left and met some men in a field who invited me to share in their meal. During the meal, all of a sudden, that surly old man came out of the woods. My hosts asked him to lead me just to the next village. The old man, grumbling constantly, told them "but he knows the way even better than I do."
I went on walking and reached the village of N..., where I went into the first little house I came to and asked for some bread. They did not give me any, but invited me to take tea with them. I found my hosts to be brave folks, they had a large son who was married. They cooked me eggs and pancakes. They gave me sugar, even though they themselves did not use any sugar for their own tea.
In the next village I was speaking to a koustar (artisan) peasant. My last hosts, the one in N... knew him and spoke to me of him highly. After spending the night in N... with my excellent hosts, I went to the koustar village which I found without difficulty. I told the koustar the name of the deacon, who he knew very closely, even calling him by his nickname.
"So what did he tell you?" the koustar asked me.
"He told me, that maybe, you could guide me to the Czechs..."
"Oh, no, no! Impossible, so don't even ask me. Before, I still could have. Now it is really impossible, everywhere are checkpoints and patrols."
"So, what can I do?" I asked.
"Come into the house and we will chat."
They set the table for supper. They invited me to spend the night in the house. I eagerly accepted. The next day i was to go back to N..., to my gracious hosts of the night before. They had invited me to dinner.
I did not know what to do, or where to go, since I could not go forward because of all the patrols. N... suggested that I wait, spending the nights in his house and to hide myself in the forest during the days, away from curious eyes. Taking a provision of bread I did not want to go back to the village that night, so I found a forgotten corner in the forest where there was a haystack where I could sleep. So I spent the following three days and three nights, taking advantage of the good weather then. Just one time I went back to N..'s house to get bread. At dawn after the third night peasants came with pitchforks to carry off the hay. Fortunately they started on the opposite side of the haystack from where I was sleeping! I got out, excused myself and left. The next night I was in a neighboring village. I went into a house where I was inited to dinner and sleep, the most pressing reason that I accepted their offer was because it was raining.
The following morning I left immediately after taking tea with my hosts, and wandered in the forest. After walking for a fairly long time I came upon a church. However, it was closed so I could not pray there. I went to the priest's house and asked him how I might go to the Czechs...
"Oh, NO, NO, NO! You must go, leave, leave as fast as you can...Mother, give him bread and tea...you are completely surrounded by the Reds here. Leave fast, for the love of God!"
I took the bread that the little mother gave me, and went back into the forest and walked along the forest path without seeing another soul.
Suddenly, I saw a man carrying a rifle and accompanied by a dog. I ran in the forest. However he shouted that I should not be afraid, and came up to me laughing..."I am just like you, in the same situation. I saw you before in a village."
He said that he was not alone, that alot of people all around us watching out for the Reds.
I spent my nights in different villages and more often in the forest. One time I heard loud breathing right next to me, turned my head and saw it was a wolf. Frightened, I shouted at it loudly. Scared on his own part by my shouts, the wolf ran off.
Since I was spending my nights in the forest I only went into the villages to ask for something to eat, only rarely to spend the night. To go very far, though, was dangerous, so I was always staying in the same general area. Many of the inhabitants of the area knew me by sight.
One day, I was at a peasant's house asking for bread. Going into the izba, I saw a woman who had an intellectual air about her, she bought white cheese, milk, eggs, bread. This was very interesting to me, so I asked her who she was buying all the groceries for.
"I am buying this for my men.." she said to me in a low voice, "there are three of them, including my husband. We are on the run and trying to get back to the Czechs. As a woman, you see, I attract less attention."
"Is it possible that I can join you?" I asked.
"Why no, I am going back to my men who are hiding in the forest. Wait a little and then follow me."
Since I knew the forest well, I found them quite easily. Already forwarned by the woman, they signalled me to join them. To my question, the responded that they were going to rejoin the Czechs, which I already knew. I told them that I was going there myself, but I did not know what route I would have to follow. The suggested that I go with them, saying that they already had formulated a plan to slip through a break in the front that same day.
"But, be aware that you must run, without a doubt and from here it will be two or three days before we can probably get through easily."
They said that to me only because of my appearance that they thought I looked like a much older man than I really was. I had grown a huge beard, not to mention the effects of living in prison first, and then being on the run.
The advice of the fugitives, that in several days we could easily cross to the Czechs, made me decide not to join up with them. Above all, I suspected that they were really reds.
I no longer had boots, mine were completely worn out. At one house they gave me "laptis" and "ouutchye", bark shoes with strings to tie them on to the feet and with strips of cloth instead of socks. This gift was really most appropriate.
I frequented N..'s house more often than anyone else, and one day he said to me: "You know, everyone already knows you around here, they all say that you might be a professor, or maybe a rich priest."
"Well what can I do?" I asked.
"Exchange that overcoat for peasant's clothing."
"Well, I have wanted to do just that for a long time now, but I do not know how to get it."
N..'s married son heard the conversation.
"I have an extra cloak," he said.
I gladly took the peasant cloak and insisted that the young man take my overcoat in exchange, after a while he agreed to take it. He have me a chapka, a belt to wear and I hung a hatchet on the belt and so transformed myself into a peasant. I felt much more reassured.
I always continued to wander in the forest, near the villages, spending the nights in the forest sometimes, sometimes in the villages. The peasants' attitude towards me remained excellent. I took a steam bath and got rid of the bugs in my clothes. For this latter chore, I also had to cover my entire body in birch resin. All the bugs disappeared completely.
One day I was in an izba where the hosts had kept me for dinner. It happened that a man with the same request as mine came by; for bread for three people.
"But where are the others?" asked the master of the house, "they can come here without fear."
The three men came and ate. They seemed suspicious to me, so I asked them where they were going.
"We are going over to the Whites," was the response.
"Would you take me with you? I am a fugitive, like you."
They exchanged glances.
"Why not? Gladly."
"And you intend to go across the front?" I asked them.
"Yes, and we even hope to go across soon."
However, on thinking about it, I could not risk going with them; they seemed to much like Red Guards in disguise.
During my wanderings across the forests, whenever I met someone, I tried to hide, and the other person generally would do the same. It would sometimes happen, further, that, despite the efforts not to be seen, we would sometimes end up face to face in the forest. So we would chat and would always mention how astonished we were to have met up.
Later, autumn was coming in quickly. The cold and damp forced me to find a solution quickly.
One day I met up with a young man who I had seen before in the forest with a rifle and a dog. He suggested that I go on forward, confirming that at that time I would be with the Czechs, if that were still possible. He also showed me the most secure road to follow.
The next day, young N... led me to a village some four versts away from theirs. We asked them if there were still Red Guards nearby. They told us that the Red Guards were all around and that all the roads were guarded by them and they often came into their villages. It was already night and I could not risk going back to N..., despite my companion's insistance. However, to stay in that village for the night was also itself risky. I decided then to turn back and spend the night going back. Everyone in those villages already knew who I was. So, on the way, for example, in a small hamlet, I was invited to stay the night by a peasant who shouted to me in a loud voice: "Haven't you learned anything? come sleep, it is cold out in the fields." Despite the fact that it was indeed cold, I could not risk staying the night under someone's roof. I thanked them, but refused.
By that time it was very late at night and I had not yet found some place to bed down. Just then I saw a large pile of straw. I pulled some out, made a hole and hid inside. I tried to sleep, but soon had to leave as the straw was wet and it was icy outside already. I was getting numb from the cold in the straw. I got up with some difficulty. I started to run to warm up again. At dawn I saw my companion who had spent the night in the village and I went back with him to his parents'. I warmed up by walking and felt better by the time I arrived back at their house. They prepared the samovar for tea and insisted that I sleep in the garret. I slept without undressing, taking off only my shoes. The master of the house was not there, having gone to the communal office.
Just barely asleep, I heard an upset voice "Papa, Papa, the red guards are here!" (They all called me "Papa" which was the Russian custom) I looked out the window and saw six red guards on horseback on the road. I quickly put my shoes back on, jumped down into the courtyard and hid. Once they had gone further on, I went very carefully into the forest. So I was saved. The house I had been in was the first one in the village, and I was certain that they would begin their searches in our house. Luckily, they began on the other side of the village. This search had been caused by the fact that the evening before, a group of armed men had passed a neighboring village, and the rumor was that they were the Whites.
The village was not very big, perhaps a dozen houses. As I was leaving, young N... told me to come back to spend the night, "Come back to sleep Papa." He always called me "Papa." Everyone was always so proper and so full of tact that I was never asked for my real name.
During the whole day I was wandering, starving, taking all precautions in the forest. As night fell I furtively went into the courtyard, but not by the road, rather from the side facing the field. There were no Red Guards. I ate and slept. In the morning we took tea. As always, they gave me two pieces of sugar, the members of the family drank theirs without sugar. The old man, drinking, told me: "Listen, Papa, in the office they told me 'you offer him hospitality, that is very good, but be careful. If the Red Guards find him in your house they will shoot you both.' "
"I know," I said to him, "which is exactly why I often refuse your good hospitality and only take advantage of it as little as I possibly can."
Then I really had to leave. The ice was coming. The evening of my name saint's day, October 5 old style, I took my final leave of my fine hosts, N... Young N... led me to a near by village to his parents'. We walked side by side. Believing it was dangerous for my companion, I told him to go in front and that I would follow him some distance behind, so if he saw any horsemen, he could signal me by raising his arm. So we walked on like that for some time, and suddenly I saw a man on horseback in the distance. My companion, though, did not make the designated signal. Thinking that he had not seen the horseman, I disappeared into the forest and lost sight of him. I wandered in the forest for quite a while before I found the road again. There was no one to be seen. Some time later I met back up with my companion.
"Why did you run awaay Papa? That horseman was one of my family, he saw you run and had a good laugh."
So we arrived at N...'s family's house. The mistress of the house served us dinner. Some time later, she saw her husband, who did not immediately recognize my companion, hide himself. Once he realized who it was, he came in and said: " I am in the same situation you are, I am also wanted by the Bolsheviks.
We talked and he asked me what I intended to do. I told him everything.
"Well, it is possible to get to the Czechs, with many detours. I can draw out the route you need to follow, but you will have to walk directly and fast. The Reds left this area just yesterday.
He wrote out the details of the route I had to follow, including a river to cross. I told him that I had no money to pay to cross the river. He said that I would not need money as the transport across was free of charge.
I went on my way and soon got to the river. A woman was milking cows. I asked her to carry me across the river. She told her daugther to take me across. The young girl got on a horse, I sat on its rump behind her, and that is how I crossed. I went along my path, which was quite muddy, and along which the horse drawn hay carts had a lot of difficulty. I soon arrived at a village which was on my map. I found the peasant I had been told of who confirmed the details of the route on my map, saying, in effect, that it was the best road to get to the Czechs. I was invited to share his supper with his family and spend the night. They put a matress on the ground, gave me a cushion and coverlet. It was my first real bed since my escape.
The next morning after tea, my host explained the route I had to follow in great detail, and most particularly recommended the proprieter in a hamelet that I would reach in the evening.
My hosts directions were exact. Just as night fell I got to the hamlet; a fine house, a most proper courtyard, women threshing wheat. As I approached I asked them what the hamlet was called. They told me and the name was exactly that which I had been given earlier in the morning by my brave host. I then asked them where I could find the master.
"See there he is working in the field. Go into the house, don't be shy if there is no one inside, we will be finished soon and will be back, the master too."
It was less than an hour before everyone was in the house. The master began to ask me questions. I told him everything that had brought me to his house.
"Well how it is, I know it very well."
I brought him current on my situation. They set the table. During supper he told me: "Sleep soundly, tomorrow or the day after you will be with the Czechs. Early tomorrow I will take you to my very good friend the starosta who will take you on farther.
The next day, at the first possible hour, after tea, he asked: "Are you ready? I am going to go with you just until the area, you will go on the road alone, I have an urgent matter here.
Nevertheless, at my insistance, as I was afraid of not finding the way, he went with me to the starosta, and he gave the necessary orders for the urgent work.
It was still morning when we arrived. The starosta's wife was in the middle of baking buns and cakes. She was making a lot. They brought the samovar and forced me to the table and to eat, even though I was not really hungry. My companion, pressed for time, left me with the starosta and asked him to take me to the place indicated on the map. Getting the starosta's promise, he went home.
The starosta left with me to show me the way. After jumping across a hedgerow, we went to a large opening made in the forest.
"Follow along the right of this opening," he told me, "you won't see anyone, there aren't any deer or any Bolsheviks. There will be a lot of streams along your way, but there are boards there to cross them with. If you are unsure of your direction, look behind you, then in front; the opening will always show you the direction to follow. At the end of the opening you will be at the village."
We separated, and I went on the path indicated. My feet were muddy, in the streams, and I followed the opening for eight versts and arrived at a little hamlet, there were only two houses. At the end of the opening was a walled field that I had to cross. I asked a young girl who was leading some cows: "Where is the village of X?"
"You are there," she said.
"What? there are only two houses?"
"What does that matter. Thats what it's called."
I went into one house asking permission...
"You see, he asks permission to come in after he is already inside," said an old peasant who was reparing boots.
I asked for something to drink.
"And what do you want?" he asked.
Then, without listening to my answer, he offered me milk. I drank the milk and asked him to tell me the way to the next village. The old man's brother, younger, was getting ready to leave, and said: "I am going there exactly. Let's go together, I'm already ready.
Despite being tired after eight versts of walking a difficult path, I followed. He asked me where I was going fromt here. I told him: "To the Czechs."
He promised to take me to the village Z, by a road where we would not meet anyone, and from there it would not be a long walk to the Czechs.
We went along forgotten pathways and saw no one. Arriving at the village, we did not go in, but rather went behind one house along the side of the fields. We had gone four versts. My companion was a good walker and was not tired. I, on the other hand, had already gone twelve versts just that morning, so I felt tired.
"Wait a minute for me," he said to me. He went into the courtyard with a man who was trim like an athelete, and they talked. I had a sudden suspicion: "What if he has brought me to the Bolsheviks?"
However he came back quickly and told me:"Go right in front of you, then turn to the right, along the railraod, you won't see anyone. The Bolsheviks have been gone for three days!"
I asked him, in my joy, how I could thank him. I had my baptismal cross around my neck, and I offered it to him. He refused at first, then finally accpeted it.
Night fell. Someone driving a cart filled with sheaves of wheat was coming towards me. I left the road and sat on the ground, on the edge of a wood. The driver of the cart was singing, the voice sounded young. I went back to the road and walked toward him. I asked the young boy how to get to the railroad tracks. He told me to keep walking in the same direction and I would arrive at the tracks. Feeling bold, I asked him:"I won't fall under the bolsheviks."
"They haven't been here for a long time! But, where are you going? There isn't any station here."
I explained that I was going to the Czechs. He told me that I had to keep walking along the tracks for almost three more versts. I told him that I was already very tired and didn't want to have to go so far. He suggested "So, don't go today. You can go tommorrow. You can spend the night in the railroad barracks."
I followed his suggestion. I went into the barracks, where I found two women who invited me into the building.
"You live here?" I asked.
"We do the laundry for the Czechs."
"So, what are you doing here?"
"We are waiting for our husbands, they are coming back from work, but they don't sleep here, since it's Saturday, today everyone goes home."
"So, can I spend the night here?"
"If you want to. Take whatever bunk you want to. Light the stove if you want, and dry out."
After they left, I followed their advice, I lit the stove, got undressed and slept quite well until morning. First thing I went to the Czechs who were at the train station some two versts away.
Comments on this site should be directed to Bob Atchison.