Monday, May 17, 2010

Bishop Daniel’s Fables, XVII

The Hermit and the Bear (I. A. Krylov, “Pustynnik i medved’ ”)

We all appreciate a favor, as a rule:
A helping friend does always please,
But heaven help us, if he is a fool!
Well-meaning fools are worse than enemies.
There was a man. He had no wife,
No family and no relations,
And, living far away from human habitations,
He led a very lonely life.
This kind of life is hard to bear,
No matter
How well you praise it. He knew better,
Because we humans like to share
Both our good fortunes and our ills.
You say: “And how about the hills,
The woods with their mysterious shadows,
The streams, the valleys and the meadows?”
They’re beautiful, there is no doubt.
I only want to make this clear:
Even their beauty fails to cheer
When you’re alone, day in, day out.
One day he went into the wood
WIth a faint hope that there he would
Meet with some neighbor. Only there
Whom can you meet, except a bear,
Or, maybe, wolves? And you can bet,
It was a bear with whom he met.
He doffs his hat and greets the bruin
(Who later proved to be his ruin);
The friendly animal extends
His furry paw; they start to talk,
They go together for a walk,
And in no time they are fast friends.
What jokes and secrets they did share
No one can tell
Because the bear
(as you are, probably, aware)
Does not say much. The hermit, in his turn
Was taciturn,
And so they kept their secrets well
Be’t as it may, the hermit, he was glad:
Such treasure, such a friend he had!
He is delighted with the bear,
They are together everywhere.
On a hot day the hermit and his friend
Together for a stroll a-walking went
Across the mountains and the vales,
Across the woods, the hills and dales.
Our human race
Is not as stout
As bear: the hermit tired out
And could not keep the bruin’s pace
Who, seeing this, to him did say:
“Lie down, my friend, and rest. You may,
If you desire, have some sleep,
But I shall keep
Watch over you, the while you rest.”
The hermit, he did not protest:
To persuade him was so easy,
And he lay down to sleep and to repose.
The bear is watchful, he is busy:
A fly had landed on the hermit’s nose
He shoos it off – it lands on hermit’s cheek.
And thus to it the bear does speak:
“You naughty thing, you leave alone
My friend, or else I’ll strike you dead.”
He says and then he grabs a stone
(The fly was sitting on the hermit’s head)
It was a perfect hit:
No wonder
The hermit’s skull was split
They say that there, until a hill,
He’s lying still.

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