Turgenev’s story “Bezhin Meadow” was first published in 1851 in the journal Sovremennik. The work entered the author’s cycle of short stories “Notes of a Hunter”. The essay refers to the literary direction of realism, but it also contains features of romanticism.
The narrator is a hunter, a narrative is narrated from his face.
Илюша – the boy about 12 years, knowing many folk beliefs and histories about an impure force.
Pavlusha is a boy about 12 years old, “he looked very cleverly and straight, and his voice sounded strong.”
Fedya – a boy of 14 years old, the oldest of the guys, in all the signs – comes from a rich family. I went with other guys for fun.
Kostya is a boy of 10 years old.
Vanya is a boy of seven, who slept almost all night.
In one of the warm July days, the narrator hunted for black grouses
in the Chern district of the Tula province. He fired “quite a lot of game” and returned home in the evening. Lost in the twilight, the narrator first walked by the aspen tree, then found himself in an unfamiliar plowed dell. Without trying to make out the roads, he went “by the stars” and suddenly found himself in front of a “huge plain” called Bezhin Meadow, which was being swept around by a wide river. At the foot of the hill, the man noticed two campfires and people.
The narrator went down to the campfires – near them were peasant children from neighboring villages, guarding the herd of horses with two large dogs. The narrator asked them to spend the night, lay down by the fire and, watching the night nature, listened to the conversations of the children.
There were only five boys: Fedya, Pavlusha, Ilyusha, Kostya and Vanya. The narrator describes the appearance of the boys. Fedya is a “slender boy, with beautiful and delicate features.” Pavlusha – with black hair, gray hair, pock-marked pale face and awkward squat body. Ilyusha – with
a hunchbacked, elongated, half-blind face, which “expressed some dull, painful care.” Kostya – a boy with a thoughtful and sad look, his eyes, “seemed to want to say something, for which in the language, <…> – there were no words.” The youngest Vanya slept all night under matting.
The narrator pretended to be asleep and the boys at the fire began to talk. Ilyusha told how, after spending the night with the guys at a paper mill, they heard the house-cook. At night someone knocked and walked over them, and afterwards he went downstairs to them, opened the doors, but the boys saw no one in the doorway. Then one of the tanks began to move shape, the other – the hook from the nail was removed and replaced in place. “Then, as if someone went to the door and suddenly as he coughs, he chokes.” The boys were very frightened.
The next story was told by Kostya – about the sloboda carpenter Gavrila. Once the man went into the woods for nuts, lost his way and decided to spend the night in the forest. But only he dozed off, as he wakes up from the fact that someone is calling him. Finally Gavrila saw a mermaid sitting on a branch calling her to him. The man crossed himself – immediately the mermaid, who before laughing merrily, burst into tears: “You would not be baptized to you,” says the man, “you would live with me in joy until the end of days, and I weep, I’m killed because you were baptized, but not me one I will be killed: you must be killed for the rest of your life. ” Then she disappeared. And Gavrila has since become sad.
In the distance, I heard a “lingering, ringing, almost wallowing sound.” The boys shuddered, Ilya whispered: “With us is the power of the cross!”.
After the guys calmed down, Ilyusha started talking about what happened recently on the broken dam – “unclean deaf place”, where the drowned man is buried. The boy told me that some day the clerk sent Ermil to the post office, but the man stayed and came back at night. Crossing the dam, he noticed a lamb on the grave of a drowned man. The man took the animal with him, but while he was driving, he noticed that the lamb looked steadily into his eyes. He began to stroke it with wool, – says: “Byasha, byasha!” And the ram then suddenly whips its teeth, and he too: “Byasha, byasha…”.
Suddenly, “both dogs rose at once, barked with convulsive barking away from the fire and disappeared into the darkness.” All the boys were frightened. ” Pavlusha ran after the dogs, but soon galloped on horseback and said that he thought that the dogs had smelled the wolf, but there is nothing there.
The boys continued the conversation. Ilyusha said that in Varnavitsa they often met the late master, who was looking for a break-grass, because the grave was pressing heavily on him. Kostya was surprised – he thought that the dead can only be seen on the parental Saturday. Ilya said that on Saturday’s parental day, you can also find out who will die soon: you need to sit on the church porch and watch who passes by you. So the woman Ulyana, sitting on the porch, saw herself walking.
The boys were quiet. Above them flew a white dove. The guys remember about the recent “Shadow of the Sky” in the Shalamov – a solar eclipse. Ilyusha retells the legend about Trishka – a crafty person who will appear in an eclipse and who can not be caught or imprisoned.
Suddenly, over the river, the cry of heron was heard twice. The boys started talking about the wood – Kosta thought he heard his cries somehow. Ilya retorted: the leshy does not cry, he’s dumb-“only claps his hands and cracks.”
Pavlusha got up and went to the river for water. Ilyusha at this time told the boys that when a person scoops water from a river, he can be seized by the hand with a water one and dragged to himself. The guys remembered Akulina the little fool who “spoiled the water”, as well as Vasya, who, by playing on the shore, accidentally drowned. Returning, Pavlusha said that when he was recruiting water, he was called from the water by Vasily’s voice.
By the morning the conversation of the boys had gradually subsided, and the narrator had dozed off. The man woke up before dawn and, nodding to Pavlush, awakened, went “along the smoke-filled river.” “I, unfortunately, should add that in the same year Paul was no more.” He did not drown: he was killed, having fallen from the horse. “It’s a pity, a nice guy!”
Ivan Turgenev’s story “Bezhin Meadow” reveals to the reader the world of folk poetry and fairy tales about all kinds of “evil spirits”: goblins, mermaids, geeshers, water ghosts. In the work of the legend and belief, harmoniously complemented by paintings of picturesque nature, and the composition of the essay sends the reader to the vernacular genre of “terrible history”, a characteristic feature of which are elements of mysticism and an inexplicable, mysterious tragic end.
To appreciate the beauty of Turgenev’s syllable, we recommend not to dwell on a brief retelling of “Bezhina meadows”, but to read the story completely.