Page:Korolenko - Makar's Dream and Other Stories.djvu/227

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203
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

"Who told it to me? Bah! Who told you about Kiev?"

"Tut, tut, what a tongue you have! It's sharper than a razor; may it shrivel in your head!"

"There's no reason why my tongue should shrivel in my head. You'd better believe what people say when every one says it. If every one says it, it must be true. If it weren't true, every one wouldn't say it; only magpies like you would say it, so there!"

"Tut, tut, tut! For Heaven's sake stop a minute! You rattle out your words like a pestle in a mortar. I see I was on the wrong track, but I only wanted to know how the story began."

"It began because it happens every year. Whatever happens people will talk about; what doesn't happen isn't worth talking about."

"What a fellow you are! Wait a minute, let me catch your prattle by the tail; you whirl like a wild mare in a bog. Only just tell me what really takes place, that's all!"

"Eh hey, so you don't know, I see, what takes place on the Day of Atonement?"

"I used to know, and that's why I didn't ask. I used to hear people chattering like you about Khapun, Khapun, but what the sense of it was I never could make out."

"Then you ought to have said so at once, and I should have told you long ago. I don't like proud people who, when they want a drink of gorelka,