L. N. Tolstoy
At the dawn, horses are driven from the bar horse yard. From the entire herd stands a serious, pensive-looking old piebald gelding. He does not show impatience, like all other horses, dutifully waits until old man Nester saddles him, and with sadness watches what is happening, knowing in advance every minute. Having driven the herd to the river, Nester rasmslyvaet gelding and scratching it under the neck, believing that the horse is nice. Merin does not like this shechena, but from delicacy pretends to a grateful person, closes his eyes and shakes his head. And all of a sudden, for no reason, Nester painfully beats the gelding with a buckle on her dry leg. This incomprehensible evil deed aggravates the gelding, but he does not give a look. Unlike man, the behavior of the old horse is full of dignity and calm wisdom.
In spite of the repulsive signs of decrepitude, the figure of the golden gelding keeps the calm of its former beauty and strength. His old age is majestic and ugly at the same time. And this causes the horses indignation and contempt. “Horses regret only themselves and occasionally only those in the skin of whom they can easily imagine themselves.” And all night in the stable yard, obeying the herd instinct, the whole herd chases the old gelding, there are hearings of hoofs on the thin sides and heavy groaning. And the gelding does not stand, stops in impotent despair and begins a story about his life. The story
He was born from the First Grace and Baba. According to the pedigree, his name is Muzhik first, and in the street – Kholstomer. So people call it for a long and sweeping move. From the first days of his life he feels the mother’s love and the surprise that the surrounding people have. He’s piebald, unusual, not like everyone else. The first grief in life is the loss of the mother’s love, which already carries a smaller brother. The first love for a beautiful filly Vyazopurikha ends, ending with the most important change in the life of the Holstomer – it is emasculated to not continue in the genus of pesto. Its difference from all gives rise to a tendency to seriousness and profundity. The young gelding observes that people are guided in life not by deeds, but by words. And the main thing among words is “mine”. This word changes the behavior of people, makes them often lie, pretend and not be what they really are. This word was due to the fact that the gelding is passed from hand to hand. Although he bypasses the famous swan of the Swan, Kholstomer still sells to the young lady: because he is piebald and does not belong to the count, but to the stableman.
He buys a hussar officer, whose gelding spends the best time of his life. The owner is beautiful, rich, cold and cruel – and dependence on such a person makes love to him Strider especially strong. The owner needs an uninhabited horse, to stand out even more in the light, to go to his mistress, to ride along Kuznetsky, so that everyone eschews and looks around. And Kholstomer serves selflessly, thinking: “Kill me, drive me, I will be happier”. He admires the owner and himself next to him. But one black day a mistress throws an officer, leaves with another. The Hussar, in pursuit of her, pushes Holstomer. He trembles all night and can not eat. In the morning they give him water, and he ceases forever to be the horse that he was. Strider sells to the young lady, then to the old woman, the red-headed man, the peasant, the gypsy, and finally to the local clerk.
When the herd returns the next evening from the meadow, the owner shows the best, most expensive horses to the guest who arrived. The guest reluctantly praises. Passing by Holstomer, he slaps him on the rump and says that the same “painted” gelding was at it once. Strider learns in the flabby old man of his former beloved host-hussar.
In the manor house, in the luxurious living room, behind the tea sit the host, the hostess and the guest. The former hussar, Nikita Serpukhovsky, is now over forty. Once very handsome, now he has descended “physically, and morally, and monetary.” He squandered a fortune of two million and still owed one hundred and twenty thousand. And so the kind of happiness of the young master humiliates Serpukhovsky. He tries to talk about his past when he was handsome, rich, happy. The owner interrupts him and talks about his current life, boasting that he has. This boring conversation for both of them, in which they do not hear each other, lasts until the morning, until Serpukhovskaya gets drunk and staggers to sleep. He does not have enough strength to undress until the end – in one unbuttoned boot he falls on the bed and snores, filling the room with the smell of tobacco, wine and dirty old age.
At night the herdsman Vaska on Kholstomer goes to the tavern and keeps it till morning on a leash next to the peasant horse, from which the gelding passes to the gelding. Five days later, Holstomer is not driven into the field, but is led to a shed. When a throat is cut to him, it seems to him that along with a large stream of blood, the whole weight of life comes out of him. He is skinned. Dogs, crows and kites grab horse meat, at night comes the wolf; in a week at a shed roll only bones. But these bones are taken away by the muzhik and put them into action.
“Walking around the world, Eyshev and the dead body of Serpukhovsky were removed to the ground much after.” And to hide there the rotting, worm-infested body in a new uniform and cleaned boots-it was an unnecessary, unnecessary embarrassment for people.