The narrator remembers how they walked along the big road, and in the young birch forest nearby the scythe mowed and sang. This happened a long time ago. And the life that everyone lived at that time will never return.
All around were fields. The old big road, riddled with ruts, went into an endless Russian distance. The sun was inclined to the west, ahead a herd of sheep was gray. The old shepherd with the pack sat on the border. It seemed that there was no time division in this forgotten – or blessed – God country. And the braids walked and sang among this eternal silence, and the birch forest answered as easily and freely.
The Koscians were distant, Ryazan, passing through these lands to work, moving to more fertile land. Carefree and friendly, not burdened by
A week ago, the narrator drove astride and saw them mowing in the nearby forest. At work, they came in half-day: sweetly drank from the wooden jugs spring water and cheerfully ran to the place. Scythes started at once, playfully. And then he saw their supper when they were sitting near an extinct fire and dragged pieces of something pink from the cast iron. Looking closely, the narrator realized with horror that they were eating mushroom-fly agarics. And those only laughed: “Nothing, they are sweet, like chicken.”
Now they were singing: “Forgive me, forgive me, my dear friend!” and moved along the birch forest. A narrator and a companion stood and listened, realizing that they would never forget this evening before the evening, and most importantly, never understand what the charm of this song.
And the charm was in everything – and in the sonority of the birch forest, and that this song did not exist in itself, but was closely related to their thoughts and feelings and to the thoughts and feelings of Ryazan’s braids. It was felt that a person is so naive in ignorance of his strengths and talents that it is only worth sighing a little, as the whole forest will immediately respond in response
Another was in this song – this is what we, and they, these Ryazan muzhiks, knew very well, that we were infinitely happy in those days, now infinitely distant – and irrevocable.
For all the time, the fairy-tale passed. The end has come, the limit of God’s forgiveness.