Open main menu

Page:The Prose Tales of Alexander Poushkin (Bell, 1916).djvu/411

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
401
KIRDJALI.

"To be sure I do," replied he, and he related to me the following.

Kirdjali, having been taken to Jassy, was brought before the Pasha, who condemned him to be impaled. The execution was deferred till some holiday. In the meantime he was confined in jail.

The prisoner was guarded by seven Turks (common people, and in their hearts as much brigands as Kirdjali himself); they respected him and, like all Orientals, listened with avidity to his strange stories.

Between the guards and the prisoner an intimate acquaintance sprang up. One day Kirdjali said to them: "Brothers! my hour is near. Nobody can escape his fate. I shall soon take leave of you. I should like to leave you something in remembrance of me."

The Turks pricked up their ears.

"Brothers," continued Kirdjali, "three years ago, when I was engaged in plundering along with the late Mikhaelaki, we buried on the steppes, not from Jassy, a kettle filled with money, evidently, neither I nor he will make use of the hoard. Be it so; take it for yourselves and divide it in a friendly manner."

The Turks almost took leave of their senses. The question was, how were they to find the blessed spot? They thought and thought and finally resolved that Kirdjali himself should conduct them to the place.

Night came on. The Turks removed the irons from the feet of the prisoner, tied his hands with a rope, and, leaving the town, set out with him for the steppe.

Kirdjali led them, keeping on in one direction from one mound to another. They walked on for a long time. At last Kirdjali stopped near a broad stone, measured twelve paces towards the south, stamped and said: "Here."

The Turks began to make their arrangements. Four of