Page:Taras Bulba. A Tale of the Cossacks. 1916.djvu/32

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Turks and the Tatárs, who would find means for overcoming them. In January, 1557, the Khan of the Crimea attacked Khortitza Castle, in vain: but it was evident that some inaccessible location must be chosen; so the Sicha began to lead a nomadic life, like its inhabitants. The original kurén, which came, in the end, to signify a large barrack (and the troop which occupied it), was a small wooden shack, mounted on wheels, which enabled it to gallop after its owner, when the Sicha began its wanderings among the labyrinth of islands, shallows and bays, where the estuary of the Dnyeper ebbed and flowed. Such a Sicha could not, obviously, be made a centre all at once, and its origin, in the usual sense, must be ascribed to the ten years or so following Vishnevetzky's experiment and failure. It moved on down the Dyneper in agile bounds—and then returned, apparently, twice, to locations close to some previously occupied and abandoned.

The pathetic picture of the old Kazák gazing out across the Black Sea and mourning for his Ostap would suggest that the Syech to which Bulba returned after the defeat might have been Number Seven—the one situated at Aleshki, twelve miles from Kherson, on the salty lagoon of the Dnyeper—one of the famous "limans" in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, whose bottom-slime consti-