Russian Folk-Tales/A Tale of the Dead (2)

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Once a carpenter was going home late at night from a strange village: he had been at a jolly feast at a friend's house. As he came back an old friend met him who had died some ten years before.

"How do you do?"

"How do you do?" said the walker, and he forgot that his friend had long ago taken the long road.

"Come along with me: let us have a cup together once more."

"Let us go."

"I am so glad to have met you again, let us toast the occasion."

So they went into an izbá,[1] and they had a drink and a talk. "Well, good-bye; time I went home!"

"Stay, where are you going? Come and stay the night with me."

"No, brother, do not ask me: it is no good. I have business at home to-morrow and must be there early."

"Well, good-bye."

"But why should you go on foot? Better come on my horse, and he will gallop along gaily."

"Thank you very much."

So he sat on the horse, and the horse galloped away like a whirlwind.

Suddenly the cock crowed: it was a very terrible sight! Graves all around, and under the wayfarer a gravestone!

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

  1. Hut.