Weeping of the quail
In early August 1941, Rodion Chubar, chairman of the Veremeykovsky collective farm, convened the last general meeting. The Germans were advancing, and it was necessary, according to Stalin’s directive, to steal a collective herd far away, so that the enemy would not get it. The drivers were the deputy chairman of the kolkhoz (manager) Denis Zazyba and two collective farmers. In the village of Zazyb the patient returned – he got drunk cold water, chilled his throat. He did not have time to lie down – Chubar appeared and said that the grain that was in the barn had already been handed over to the state and instructed Zazyba to get rid of that crop that is still ripening in the fields. Zazyba said in vain that one should think
On the following day, Sidor Rovnyagin’s granddaughter came to Zaziba from Kuligaevka. Grandfather urgently sent her for Zazyba. In the hut at Rovnyagin the clerk was waiting for the secretary of the Krutogorsk district committee of the party Prokop Mashtakov and an unfamiliar officer. From them Zazyba learned that from day to day the Germans will be in Veremeyki. He was asked to shelter a very important person. They turned out to be a beautiful girl, Maryl.
Zazyba was surprised at the trust he had been given. His only son Mace was convicted four years ago. Because of this Zazyba was removed from the post of chairman of the collective farm, which took six years. In his place appointed Chubar.
That night Zaziba and his wife Martha did not sleep, they were waiting for the Germans. It was quiet, only behind the orchards, in the oats, the quail whistled like a cry. You see, someone ruined her nest. Soon the silence of the night was disturbed by the noise of the approaching car, and strangers knocked at the Zazyba house. They were Red Army men. The command of the tank division urgently needed to conduct deep reconnaissance. They sent three people on a wedge. Gasoline ended in the middle of Veremeek, opposite the hut of Parfen Vershkov. There was no fuel in the village. It was necessary with the help of horses to pull the wedge out of the outskirts and burn it.
Denis Zazyba passed two wars. In the fourteenth year, he was taken to the Romanian front, and in the eighteenth year Shchors came to their district to recruit volunteers, and Zazyba signed up for the Red Army. In Veremeyki he returned with the Order of the Red Banner, which he received from Budyonny.
Who such Maryl Zazyba did not even tell Martha, only warned: to tell everyone that this is the niece of Latoka.
Coming out on the street in the morning, Zazyba discovered that the peasants were robbing the collective farm stables. It turned out that the instigator was Roman Semochkin. He deserted from the army and for several days was hiding in the attic. In the village there were two Semochkin brothers, but the elder Pavel, five years ago, they were imprisoned for the murder of Domna Voronina. They killed an old woman alone: Pavel had a leg, and the brothers decided that the old woman had jinxed him. Paul took all the blame, regretted the family of his married brother. With him, Roman Semochkin brought his colleague, Tatar Rahim.
In addition to them, there was another deserter in the village, Bravo-Zhivotovsky. He first had time to go to Babinovichi and get a police post. Mikita Dranitsa joined him. This useless muzhik kept turning around people with power. Recently, his “friend” was Chubar. Before leaving, Dranitsa buried something in his garden. The Veremeykov boys showed this place to the elder. There was a torba full of anonymous letters (denunciations). In it were denunciations for all residents of Veremeyek, not excluding Chubar and Zazyb. The boys were drowned in a village pond.
From Veremeyek Chubar went to Krutogorye, but on the way he became aware that the city was Germans. It so happened that Chubar lost contact with the district center and was at a loss. He went to the Highlands to join the regular army. At the very beginning of the war, Chubar was summoned for a meeting at the party’s district committee. At this meeting, a partisan detachment was set up. But Chubar was not there.
In search of a ford through Besed, Chubar went to the bridge near the village of Belaya Glina. A Red Army soldier came out of the bushes to meet him. Stepping in two from him, Chubar saw the second Red Army man. It was a detachment of sappers, they had to undermine the bridge. Their names were Kholodilov and Shpakevich. It was not possible to undermine the bridge, it was necessary to set fire to it. After that, Red Army men, and with them Chubar, headed for Besed. Asking for directions, they reached the location of the 284th Infantry Division. Chubar wanted to join the army, but he was sent to a gathering point in Zhurinichi, where the militia was being formed. The rifle that Chubar took from the house was taken away from him. Where those Zhurinichi, no one really knew, and Chubar got lost. When it was quite dark, somewhere ahead of him was heard a German speech. Chubar jumped aside, lost his balance and fell between the potato furrows. This saved his life – the automatic burst over his head. Fortunately, the Germans took him for a hare. When they left, Chubar ran. The instinct of self-preservation and fear drove him away from the place where he nearly died. I spent the night in a forest on a pile of dry needles.
In the evening, Parfen Vershkov came to Zazyb and started a conversation about the division of collective-farm property. Some people in the village believed that the Soviet government would not return. Zazyba was against sharing. He even wanted to organize the collection of a new harvest by hand. In addition, Vershkov told Zazyb the main news: in Babinovichi Germans restored the volost board. Commandant Adolf Karl Gufeld ordered a general collective farm gathering to be convened, in which he declared that the new government was not against collective farming in the countryside. It was known from the newspapers that the invaders intended to disband collective farms, but for some reason they behaved differently. Zazybe thought that Gufeld might be a communist.
Waking up early in the morning, Chubar baked potatoes for breakfast – near the forest there was a potato field. As soon as Chubar had satisfied his hunger, a sudden firing began. The earth rocked under Chubar. He went out to the edge and froze with fear: along the ditch stood German tanks. Chubar rushed to run deep into the forest. On the other side of the rye field, he threw off his overcoat, which Shpakevich gave him, deciding that it was safer without her. Meanwhile, the rain stopped and Chubar saw an abandoned horse in the clearing. He had the hope to get to the Zhurinichy. Toward evening, he met an unfamiliar peasant on the forest road, who showed him the right road. After passing a little more, Chubar came across a Red Army post. It was a small detachment, commanded by a middle-aged commissar, wounded in the leg. He told Chubar about the organization of the partisan movement behind enemy lines and said, that the place of Chubar was there. He himself could not join the partisans: his group carried out important documents from the environment. The words of the commissioner made Rodion think, but until now he did not know who to rely on in Veremeyki. With them, the Red Army men of Chubar were not taken, but they fed him, gave him a rifle, cartridges to her and explained how to reach Veremek. The next morning Chubar started off.
In the morning, Marfa Zazyba gathered presents and went to her homeland – Sakhveya Melezhkova gave birth to a daughter. Martha was happy to think that, despite the war, life continues.
Prior to Shiryaevka, Chubar arrived quickly. He did not have time to enter the village, as an unfamiliar man attacked him, who turned out to be the real master of the horse found by Chubar. I had to return the horse. No one in the village wanted to shelter the hungry and tired Rodion: he was a stranger here, he was not trusted. I fed Chubar Shulakova. Her husband was bedridden and she had long been asking Rodion to stay with her, but he refused.
Late in the evening, Mikita Dranitsa came to Zazyb. He was sent by Bravo-ZHivotovsky to take the order from Zazyba. Becoming a policeman, Bravo-Zhivotovsky decided to curry favor with his superiors. He decided that the Germans needed this order very much. Zazyba did not give the award, said that he had surrendered him to the military enlistment office. At night it was heard how a moose trumpeted in the swamp, driven out of the native forest by the war.
The next morning Zazyba, as agreed in advance, decided to take Maryl to Babinovichi. Denis from the very beginning guessed that the girl was an army scout. The staff decided that the beauty and knowledge of the German language – the most important qualities for the scout, and chose Maryl. She did not have experience as a scout, only graduated short-term radio classes. Zazyba understood that even with one acquaintance with Marilya one can pay with life, but was ready for self-sacrifice. He did not agree only with the fact that Marylya was sacrificed. Martha was very attached to the girl and did not understand why she had to go somewhere.
On the way to Babinovichi Zazyba put a woman with a bundle of brushwood on a cart-they were on the way. Baba talked for a long time about the kindness and justice of the new commandant. Zazyba gloomily silent in return: he did not believe in the justice and kindness of the Germans. Soon the way to Zazybe was blocked by a German column. The Germans, young soldiers, seeing a beautiful girl, wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Saved Marilya only that the Germans were commanded to move on the road.
Tailor Shareika was considered a master in his business at Babinovichi. In his youth he worked in mines, and he was injured by a block of rock. The place was returned legless cripple, but luckily I liked the old tailor, the Jew Hirsche. After the death of Girshi, all his clientele went to Shareeke. Zazyba had long been friends with the tailor and wanted to settle Marel with him, but, having arrived at the house of Shareika, changed his mind, did not want to expose the friend to danger. After consulting, they decided that the girl would settle in one of the abandoned Jewish houses. Shaureka believed that the Germans left the collective farms only in order to take advantage of the harvested crop. The commandant is not a communist at all, it’s just profitable for him.
Back to Veremeyki with Zazyba was riding Bravo-Zhivotovsky. He served as a policeman in Veremeyki, but went to Babinovichi every day – he served the authorities. Appeared in Veremeyki Bravo-ZHivotovsky eighteen years ago. He married the widow of the Red Army soldier Paraska Ryzhenkova and soon became a strong middle peasant, then joined the collective farm. Even his wife did not know anything about his past. In fact, the ancestors of Bravo-Zhivotovsky originated from the locality that, in the twenty-first year, left Poland, he himself was born and lived until the First World War near Baranovichi. Prefix “Bravo” to his name, he received in Gulyai-Field at the father Makhno. Bravo-Zhivotovsky was a former Red Army soldier who was threatened by a tribunal. At the end of the war he made Makhno’s false documents and after a short wanderings settled in Veremeyki.
Tired, Chubar lay on the sand near a deep pit, watching from afar a strange village. The last days, full of wandering, taught him to be careful. Probably, for the first time in his conscious life Chubar could think about his place in this world. He was born eight years before the revolution. Parents have died of typhus and Rodion has got on “education” to another’s people. He worked as a farm laborer with a rich farmer, then entered the school of surveyors. He did not manage to finish school – collectivization began and Chubar went to “shoot down” collective farms from small farms. For the next ten years he worked in different positions, taking time out for teaching. Chubar was well aware that he had got himself into people only thanks to the revolution.
Soon Chubar noticed that a man was coming from the village to the river. Rodion stopped him and began to question him. The village was called Antonovka, and the river was Besed. It was not far from Veremeyek. This man turned out to be a military doctor. Chubar planned to take him to the partisan detachment, which he intended to create, but the military doctor refused flatly. He was a very strange man. At the very beginning of the war, a younger brother was killed before his eyes, then he was captured. Because of all this, he suffered a strong nervous breakdown, he considered himself unfit for life. This was noticed by the camp commandant and released him, providing an indefinite pass to Sverdlovsk in the name of the prisoner Skvortsov Alexei Yegorovich. Seeing this pass, Chubar became furious. A cunning German used this half-mad man as a living advertisement of fascist victories: if a pass is issued to Sverdlovsk, then it will soon be taken, but he is behind Moscow. Apparently, rabies was reflected in Chubar’s face, because the military doctor jumped up and rushed to run away from him. And then Chubar threw up his rifle and fired into the back of the fugitive. The military man stretched out his arms and fell backwards.
Returning from the Babinovichi, Zazyba convened a collective farm gathering. He was well aware that the responsibility for the fate of the collective farm was again on him. At the gathering they decided to divide the collective-farm property according to the lists, distribute it for storage until the arrival of the Red Army. The next morning the whole village gathered in Poddubishche to divide the collective farm field together with the ripening inhabitant into allotments.
Chubar rush far away from the place where the murder occurred. Up to Veremeyek there were about thirty kilometers left, but Chubar decided to go first to Mamonovka to his last mistress Agrafena Azarova. Rodion has already experienced true love. The girl was called Faina, she died, got on a railway crossing under the freight train. Since then, all the connections of Chubar did not leave a deep trace in his soul. During the wanderings Rodion accumulated a lot of observations on life in the conditions of occupation. Not far from Besedi, behind the bridge, Chubar saw an incomprehensible object. Coming closer, he saw that it was a padded German armored car. Nearby there were eight wooden crosses with inscriptions in German and one small hillock of land not marked with a cross. Chubar thought that Russian heroes always remain nameless. A little further away, in the middle of the vein, Rodion discovered the corpse of a Red Army man. Today, for the first time, he saw with his own eyes war with its victims.
When they began to divide the field, they noticed that there was no collective farm storekeeper Ganna Karpilova. Ganna was a very beautiful woman, but she was not lucky in life. She was born in a big village behind Snova. In Veremeyki, the motherland of his father, he and his mother were starved. The first child Ganna gave birth to from the caretaker – paid for a bag of potatoes. Then the second was born. So Hannah remained a straw widow with two sons.
In the evening on the eve of the divorce, Bravo-Zhivotovsky hosted guests on the occasion of a rescue. Everyone got drunk, and then Roman Semochkin took the Tatar Rahim to spend the night at Hannah. Raheem was sober – the Muslim faith did not allow him to drink alcohol. Left by Ghana, Rahim began to pester her, and when she, dozing off, dozed off, he took advantage of the case and raped her. The next morning, Hannah did not have the strength to go anywhere, she felt disgraced.
In the afternoon Chubar went to Veremeyk, but before that he buried the dead Red Army man. He was helped by a peasant from a neighboring village, where Chubar took a shovel. And then, on the way home, Rodion met Babinovich’s Jew Honya Syrkin. He fled with other Jews, but his wife fell sick along the way and died of a heart attack. Going further east due to this delay became impossible, and Honya with his two sons came back. Before Veremeyk they broke up. Chubar did not want to go straight to the village. The words of the commissar sunk into his soul, as if some mechanism had been incorporated inside him, and now Chubar knew what he should do. These days of wandering changed him. He seemed to have seen again the people and the nature of his native country.
Chubar stood a little, watching the inhabitants of Veremeek, who shared the collective farm field, and was about to leave, when suddenly the elk came out with moose. In Poddubishche spot moose, some non-native man (it was Rahim) shot him and killed him. Chubar wanted to avenge the moose, but a crowd of people were already running from Poddubishcha. Rodion retreated behind the bushes and did not notice how the cavalry detachment of the invaders drove out onto the hillock and entered the Veremeyki with a large column.
At the end was the sixtieth day of the war.