Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/289

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TARAS BULBA

rose from the ground, clove air like serpents, flew over the precipice, and plunged straight into the Dnyeper. Two only failed to land in the river, and thundered from the height upon the stones, and perished there with their steeds, before they could even utter a cry. But the rest of the kazáks were already swimming with their horses and unfastening the boats. The Lyakhs halted on the brink of the precipice, astounded at this wonderful feat of the kazáks, and thinking: "Shall we leap down to them, or not?"

One young colonel, a lively, hot-blooded fellow, own brother to the beautiful Pole who had seduced poor Andríi, did not reflect long, but hurled himself and his horse after the kazáks, with all his might. He turned three somersaults in the air with his steed, and landed heavily on the jagged cliffs. The sharp stones tore him in pieces as he fell into the abyss; and his brains, mingled with blood, bespattered the shrubs which grew on the uneven walls of the precipice.

When Taras Bulba recovered from the blow, and glanced at the Dnyeper, the kazáks were already in the skiffs, and were rowing away. Bullets showered upon them from above, but did not reach them. And the old Atamán's eyes sparkled with joy.

"Farewell, comrades!" he shouted to them