Page:Korolenko - Makar's Dream and Other Stories.djvu/230

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out over the city. It was a novice in the synagogue trumpeting out a farewell call to his unfortunate brother, while the rest of the Jews were putting on their shoes in the entry—Jews always go into church in their stocking feet—or standing in little groups in the moonlight, whispering together on tip-toe, staring up at the sky. And when the last man has gone, one lonely pair of shoes is left lying in the entry, waiting for its owner. Ah, those shoes will have to wait a long time, for at that very moment Khapun is flying with their owner high over woods and fields, over valleys and hills and plains, flapping his wings, and keeping well out of sight of Christian eyes. The accursed one is glad when the night is cloudy and dark. But when it is clear and still like to-night, with the moon shining as bright as day, the devil's work may very well come to naught.

"And why?" asked the miller, trembling lest the talkative Kharko should begin poking insults at him again. But this time the servant answered quietly enough:

"Well, you see, any Christian, no matter if he's stupid, like you, can call to the devil: 'Drop it! It is mine!' and Khapun will drop the Jew at once. The devil will flutter his wings, and fly away with a shrill cry like a wounded hawk, to be left without prey for a year. The Jew will fall to the ground. It will be lucky for him if he wasn't too high up and if he falls into a bog or some other soft spot. If