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117
THE COSSACKS

chance, and I will bring you some venison, really, I will. Now, let me have it," he added.

"Are you going to watch all night?" the under-officer asked, as if not hearing what he had said.

"I want to stay up a night," said Uncle Eróshka. "Maybe God will grant me to kill something by the holidays, and then I will give you some, really, I will!"

"Uncle! Ho, there, uncle!" shouted Lukáshka from above, so loudly that all the Cossacks looked up to him. "You go up to the upper arm of the river, there is a fine herd there. I am not lying. Bang! The other day one of us Cossacks killed one there. I am telling the truth," he added, adjusting the musket on his back, in a voice which left no doubt that he was not jesting.

"Oh, Lukáshka the 'Saver' is here!" said the old man, looking up. "Where did he shoot?"

"You did not see me! I must be very small!" said Lukáshka. "Near the very ditch, uncle," he added, earnestly, shaking his head. "We were walking along the ditch, when there was a crackling noise, but my gun was in its case. Ilyá banged away. Uncle, I will show you the place; it is not far from here. Just give me a chance. I know all the paths. Uncle Mosév!" he added to the under-officer, with determination and almost commandingly. "It is time to relieve the guard!" and, picking up his gun, he began to come down from the tower, without waiting for the order.

"Come down!" said the under-officer, after awhile, looking around him. "It is your watch, isn't it, Gúrka? Go! Your Lukáshka is getting to be clever," added the under-officer, turning to the old man. "He goes a-hunting like you, and can't stay at home; the other day he killed one!"