On a stifling summer day, I returned from hunting in a jolting cart. Suddenly my coachman was worried. Looking forward, I saw that the funeral train was crossing our path. It was a bad omen, and the coachman began to drive the horses to catch the road before the train. We did not pass a hundred paces, as our trolley broke the axis. Meanwhile, the deceased overtook us. The coachman Erofei reported that they were burying Martyn the carpenter.
We made our way to the Yudin settlement in order to buy a new axle there. There was not a soul in the settlements. Finally I saw a man sleeping in the middle of the courtyard in the sun, and woke him up. I was struck by his appearance. It was a 50-year-old dwarf with a swarthy, wrinkled face, small brown eyes and a cap of thick, curly, black hair. His body was puny, and his gaze was strangely strange. His voice was surprisingly young and feminine. The driver called him Kasyan
After much persuasion, the old man agreed to see me off the hook. Erofei harnessed Kasyanov’s horse, and we set out on our journey. In the office, I quickly bought an axle and went deep into the trimmings, hoping to hunt for black grouses. Kasyan was following me. It was not without reason that he was nicknamed Flea: he walked very quickly, tore off some grass and looked at me with a strange look.
Not having come across any brood, we entered the grove. I lay down on the grass. Suddenly Kasyan spoke to me. He said that the domestic creature is a god defined for man, and it is a sin to kill a forest creature. The old man’s speech sounded not masculine, it was a solemn and strange language. I asked Kasyan what he was doing. He replied that he was working poorly, and... was fishing with nightingales for the pleasure of the human. He was literate, he did not have a family. Sometimes Kasyan treated people with herbs, and in the district he was considered a fool. They moved them from the Beautiful Sword 4 years ago, and Kasyan missed his native places. Taking advantage of his special position, Kasyan went around half-Russia.
Suddenly Kasyan flinched, staring intently into the thicket of the forest. I looked back and saw a peasant girl in a blue sarafan and with a wicker basket on her arm. The old man kindly called her, calling Alenushka. When she came closer, I saw that she was older than I thought, about 13 or 14 years old. She was small and slender, slender and dexterous. The pretty girl was strikingly similar to Kasyan: the same sharp features, movements and cunning eyes. I asked if he was his daughter. With mock negligence, Kasyan replied that she was his relative, while in all his appearance passionate love and tenderness were visible.
The hunt was not successful, and we returned to the settlement, where Erofei was waiting for me with the axis. Approaching the court, Kasyan said that he had taken the game from me. I could not convince him of the impossibility of this. An hour later I left, leaving Kasyan with some money. On the way I asked Erofey what kind of man Kasyan was. The coachman said that at first Kasyan with his uncles went to cart, and then abandoned, he began to live at home. Erofei denied that Kasyan can heal, although he himself cured by scrofula. Alyonushka was an orphan, she lived with Kasyan. He did not want a soul in her, and was going to teach him to read and write.
We stopped several times to moisten the axis, which was heated by friction. It was already quite late when we returned home.