“I have the breath of summer and grassland all around me”

  The novella “Prairie” is about the memory of Russian writer Chekhov traveling through the grassland to visit his grandfather in his childhood and youth, and the impression he got on his way back to his hometown in the spring of 1887. The novel was written at the end of 1887 and was sent to the monthly “Northern Herald” on February 3, 1888.
  The protagonist of the novel is a nine-year-old boy, Yegorushka. The main body of the story is his travel experience when he left his mother to go to school with his uncle, and narrates the magnificent and beautiful natural scenery on the Russian prairie. It traces all kinds of people on the grassland and their pictures of life.
  The structure and content of this novel are not too complicated. Reading it makes people feel as if they are watching a poetic highway literary movie. This novel requires readers to calm down and read it carefully, to carefully understand the poetry of Miaoyuan, which is intertwined with the magnificence of the scenery, the true complexity of personnel and the sense of loneliness in the human heart. The author thinks that the greatest charm of this novel lies in this, because the existence of this kind of poetry makes the whole story good and infectious. The selected text is only a part of the novel, a part of the journey of the protagonist Yegorushka, but from this part of the selected text, readers can have a general understanding of the style of the novel.
  When writing this novel, Chekhov’s mood was very contradictory. On the one hand, he felt very strenuous, and on the other hand, he had a lot of fun. On January 19, 1888, Chekhov wrote to the editor-in-chief of the “Northern Herald” Pleseyev: “In the future, you will understand after reading it, how much hardship my inexperienced mind has suffered.” The letter to Pleseyev on February 3, 1888 said: “While I am writing, I feel that there is a breath of summer and grassland around me.” In any case, Chekhov wrote this novel smoothly.
  On January 12, 1888, Chekhov wrote in a letter to Gligorovich: “I wrote for the first time for a big magazine, and I wrote about the grassland. No one has written on this subject for a long time. I am describing the plains. , The distance of lavender, shepherds, Jews, priests, thunderstorms at night, inns, convoys of goods, birds on the grasslands, etc. Each chapter is a short story, and each chapter is closely connected, just follow The five dance styles in the Kadriel dance are the same. I tried my best to make each chapter have a general atmosphere and general tone. In order to be able to do this more easily, I let a character connect the chapters together. I think there are many difficulties I have overcome, and some places are quite hay-like. However, on the whole, my article has become a bit peculiar, and it is too different… On the whole, this is not a picture. , It has become a boring and detailed impression… But I am not discouraged. Even the “Encyclopedia of the Grassland” may not be useless…” “Northern Herald” editor-in-chief Pleseyev received the offer After the “Grassland” manuscript sent by Khofu, in a letter to Chekhov on February 8, 1888, he said: “I read it through eagerly. Once I read the beginning, I couldn’t put it down anymore. … This thing is so beautiful and poetic that I can hardly find words to say. Moreover, I can’t tell what I have to say, I can only say that I was drunk in reading. This is a story. A fascinating work. I dare to predict that you have a great future. What a wonderful description of those scenes, how lively and lovely the characters are……. Even if it lacks the external content (referring to the plot) that is extremely valued by the readers, it is internal content but no different from an inexhaustible source. poets, artists full of poetry, will read some beautiful Furthermore, can be seen throughout the extremely detailed psychological description. ”
  more than two letters The content is the author’s writing experience and a reader’s reading experience, which can give us some guidance and reference on the direction of reading and understanding; but the artistic charm of this novel requires the reader to experience it in reading. Reader, a thousand Hamlet”, the reader should read what belongs to him.
  The late Soviet leader Kalinin once commented in a conversation with Soviet writer Sholokhov: “In my opinion, a good book always has a life beating under its cover, just with blood. As it flows under the skin, even if this kind of work will not be remembered forever, it will still be unforgettable for a long time…. Do you remember Chekhov’s “Prairie”?”
  [Attached]
  steppe (excerpt)
  [Russian] Chekhov
  moon rose and the night became pale and weak. The shadow seems to have dispersed. The air is transparent, fresh, and warm; you can see clearly everywhere, even the grass stalks on the side of the road. Skulls and stones can be seen in the clearing in the distance. The suspicious, monk-like figure was set off against the bright moonlit background, and it appeared darker and more melancholic. Amidst the monotonous chirping sounds, the exclamation of “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Voice. The broad shadows swim across the plain, just like clouds swim across the sky. In that incredible distance, if you look at it for a long time, you will see vague, weird images rising up, piled on top of each other… it’s a bit horrible. One only has to look at the slightly green sky full of stars, and see that the sky has neither clouds nor stains, and one can understand why the warm air is still, why nature cares about it and does not dare to move. It trembles and is reluctant to lose. Even for a moment of life. As for the unfathomable depth and boundlessness of the sky, people can only experience it by sailing on the sea and the night view of the prairie under the moonlight. The sky is terrible, beautiful, and welcoming. It looks lazy and tempts people. Its lingering affection makes people dizzy.
  You traveled in the car for an hour, two hours. …You encounter a silent tomb or a human-shaped stone on the road, and God knows when that stone was erected there by whose hand. The night bird flew over the earth silently. Gradually, you recall the legends of the prairie, the stories of travelers, the myths told by the nanny who has lived in the prairie for a long time, and all the things your soul can imagine and understand. So, in the sound of chirping insects, in suspicious figures, in ancient tombs, in the blue sky, in the moonlight, in the flight of night birds, in everything you see and hear, you begin to feel The victory of beauty, the vigor of youth, the growth of strength and the eagerness to survive. The soul responds to the call of the beautiful and severe homeland, and wants to fly with the night birds over the grassland. In the victory of beauty, in the overflowing of happiness, it reveals tension and sorrow, as if the grassland knows that it is alone, that its wealth and inspiration are useless to the world, no one praises it with songs, and no one needs it. . Amidst the joyous noise, people heard the grassland cry out in sadness and hopelessness: Singer! Singer!
  ”Yeah! Hello,   Pantele
  ! Is everything going well?” “Thank God, Ivan Ivanovich!”
“Have you seen Varlamov, guys?”
  ”No, we didn’t.”

  Yegorushka woke up and opened his eyes. The car stopped. On the right side of the main road, there was a long train of trucks stretching forward to the distance, and many people were walking around. All the wagons were carrying large bundles of wool, and they looked very tall and round, and the horses looked small and short.
  ”Okay, then, let’s go to the Morokan faction now!” Kuzmitchov said loudly. “The Jews said that Varlamov would spend the night at the Morokan faction. If so, let’s meet again. Guys! May the Lord be with you!”
  ”Goodbye, Ivan Ivanitch!” several voices answered.
  ”That’s right, I said, folks,” Kuzmitchov yelled again quickly, “you take this little kid with me! Why let him accompany us in vain and suffer the bumps of the car? Leave him alone. On the wool bales in your car, Pantele, let him go slowly, but we are on our way. Come down,
  Yegor ! Go, it’s okay!…” Yegorushka got from the driver’s seat Come down. Several hands grabbed him and lifted him high in the air. Then, he found himself falling on a large, soft, dew-stained, and slightly damp object. At this time he felt that the sky was close to him, and the land was far away.
  ”Hey, take the little coat!” Janiska exclaimed far below.
  His coat and small baggage were thrown up from below, and they fell beside Yegorushka. He didn’t want to think too much about it, and quickly put the burden under his head, covered him with a coat, straightened his legs, and shrugged his shoulders slightly because of the dew, and he smiled with satisfaction.
  ”Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep…” he thought.
  ”Don’t treat him badly, you ghosts!” He heard Janiska say below.
  ”Goodbye, guys! May the Lord be with you!” Kuzmitchov cried, “I beg you!”
  ”Don’t worry, Ivan Ivanitch!”
  Janiska yelled at the horse, and the carriage rolled creaking, but instead of following the road, it was going somewhere nearby. There was about two minutes of silence afterwards, as if the convoy were asleep, and only the tinkling sound of the iron barrel tied to the back of the carriage gradually disappeared. Later, someone in front of the convoy yelled:
  ”Kiruha! On the road!”
  The truck at the front creaked, and then the second and third vehicles rang. … Yegorushka felt that the truck she was lying on was shaking and creaking. The convoy set off, Yegorushka grabbed the rope tied to the wool bale, smiled with satisfaction, put the honey cake in his pocket, and fell asleep, just like sleeping on the bed at home. …
  When he woke up, the sun had risen, and an ancient tomb was blocking the sun, but the sun tried its best to spread the light to the world, shining light in all directions, making the horizon full of golden light. Yegorushka felt that the sun had gone in the wrong place, because the sun rose from behind him yesterday, but now it is far to the left. …And the whole scenery is not like yesterday. The mountains are gone. No matter where you look, there are brown, listless plains spreading out in all directions, boundless. On the plain, some small graves were raised here and there, and those rooks flew around here again yesterday. In the distance ahead, the bell tower and farmhouse of a village appeared white. Today happened to be Sunday. Ukrainians were staying at home, baking bread and cooking vegetables. This can be seen from the black smoke from every chimney, which hangs on the village like a blue-gray transparent screen. In the empty space between the two rows of farmhouses, behind the church, a blue river was exposed, and across the river was a misty distance. But compared to yesterday, nothing has changed more than the road. An unusually broad, unrestrained, majestic and powerful thing stretched out on the grassland and became a avenue. It was a long gray belt that had been trampled by carriages and people, and it was covered with dust. It was the same as all roads, except that the road was several tens of Russian feet wide. The vastness of this road made Yegorushka puzzled, and caused him to have mythical fantasies. Who travels along this road? Who needs such an open world? This is really confusing, weird. To be honest, those giants who are striding forward, such as Ilya Mulomec and the thief Sorowi, may still be living in Ross, and their tall horses are not dead. Yegorushka looked at the road, fantasizing about six tall chariots galloping side by side, just as he saw in the illustrations of the “Bible” story. Each chariot is driven by six crazy wild horses. The high wheels stir up the billowing smoke and rise into the sky. Those horses are driven by the kind of people who can only be seen in dreams or appear in mythical fantasy. . If there were those people, how worthy of the grasslands and avenues they were!
  On the right side of the avenue, a telegraph pole with two strands of wires stretched out to the end of the avenue. They became smaller and smaller, entered the village, disappeared behind the farmhouse and green trees, and then appeared in the distance of lavender, becoming very small and thin sticks, like pencils stuck in the ground. The big eagle, the falcon, and the crow stopped on the wire and looked at the moving truck fleet coldly.
  Yegorushka was lying on the last truck and could see the entire long list of trucks. There are about twenty trucks in the truck team, and there must be a driver for every three trucks. Next to the last truck where Yegorushka was lying, there was an old man with a white beard, thin and short like Father Christopher, but he had a brown, harsh, sun-tanned one. Pensive face. It is possible that the old man is not stern and he is not thinking, but his red eyelids and sharp, long nose give his face a serious and stern expression. Those who are used to thinking about serious things all alone. There will be such an expression. Like Father Christopher, he wears a wide-brimmed top hat, but it is not the kind worn by the master, but made of brown felt. It is not so much like a top hat, but rather like a cut-off spire. Cone. He was barefoot. Probably because he was walking next to the truck in the cold winter, he may freeze more than once, so he developed a habit of patting his thighs and feet when he walked. He saw Yegorushka wake up, looked at him, shrugged his shoulders, as if afraid of the cold, and said,
  ”Oh, awake, kid! Are you the son of Ivan Ivanovich?”
  ”No, I’m his nephew…”
  ”Ivan Ivanitch’s nephew? Look, now I take off my boots and bounce around barefoot. My feet have been frozen, and I fall without boots. It’s more comfortable… So, you are his nephew? He is a good man, very good…. May the Lord grant him health…. Very good. I mean Ivan Ivanovich…. He Go to the Moroccan dispatch…. Oh, Lord, please have mercy on us!” The
  old man spoke as if he was afraid of the cold, intermittently, and refused to open his mouth happily. He didn’t pronounce his lips well, it was vague, as if his lips were frozen. He didn’t smile once when he spoke to Yegorushka, and he looked very serious.
  There were two trucks in front of him, and a man was walking, wearing a long earth-red coat, a peaked cap, and high boots. The shaft of the boots fell loose and he was holding a whip in his hand. This man is not old, about forty years old. When he turned his head, Yegorushka saw a long red face with a sparse goatee, and a spongy tumor protruding under his right eye. In addition to the ugly tumor, there is another characteristic of him that is very noticeable: He holds a whip in his left hand and waved in his right, as if he was conducting a choir that was invisible to the naked eye. From time to time, he clamped the whip under his armpit, and then commanded with both hands, humming a song by himself.

  The coachman in front of him was a slender, straight-lined man, with his shoulders slid down a lot, and his back was as flat as a plank. He straightened himself up, as if marching, or swallowing a ruler. His arms didn’t flick around, but they sag like two straight wooden sticks. When he steps, he has two legs like wood, like a toy soldier, almost his knees are not bent, but try to make the steps as large as possible; for every two steps the old man or the person with the sponge-like tumor takes, he only needs to take two steps. Just one step is enough, so it looks like he is walking slower than them, falling behind. A rag is tied to his face, and something rises above his head, which looks like a monk’s bonnet. He wore a Ukrainian-style short jacket with patches on his upper body, dark blue fat trousers on his lower body, trouser legs scattered, and a pair of bark shoes on his feet.
  Yegorushka couldn’t see the coachmen far ahead. He leaned on the car, dug a small hole in the wool bale, had nothing to do, and drew out the wool to weave the thread for fun. The old man walking under him was not as cold and serious as others imagined with his face. As soon as he spoke, he couldn’t stop his mouth.
  ”Where are you going?” he paused and asked.
  ”Go to school.” Yegorushka replied.
  ”Go to school? Um… well, please bless you. Yes. One brain is fine, but two are better. God gives this person one brain, two brains to that person, and even three brains to another person. …. Give another person three brains, which is real…. One brain is born, the other brain comes from studying, and the other comes from a good life. So you see, little brother, If a person can have three brains, that would be great. That kind of person will not only live comfortably, but also die easily…. We will all die in the future.” The
  old man scratched his forehead and raised his red eyes. Looking at Yegorusika, he went on to say:
  ”Last year the old man Maxine Nikolajic, who came from Slavyanno Selbsk, also took his boy to school. I don’t know how he studied there, but that boy is pretty good. …. God bless them, those good masters. By the way, he also sent his children to school…. But that city is pretty good, very good…. There are ordinary schools for the common people, but when it comes to seeking college There is no more school there….no, it’s real. What’s your name?”
  ”Yegolushika.”
  ”Then, the correct name is Yeguoli …. Holy Martyr , Victory Yeguoli, his holiday is April 23. My given name is Pantele…. We are from Khorodov’s family…. I am from Chemu City, Kursk Province, that place You may have heard of it. My brothers learned the craft and worked in the city, but I am a farmer…. I have always been a farmer. About seven years ago, I went there…. Then I mean, I went home. I went to the country. I went to the city…. I mean, I’ve been to Qimu. At that time, thank goodness, all of them were still alive and very tough, but now I am I don’t know….Someone may be dead….It’s time to die, because everyone is old, some are older than me. It’s fine to die, it’s fine to die, but, of course, no confession You can’t die. There is nothing worse than dying without time to confess. Only the devil likes dying. If you want to die after the confession, so as not to be able to enter the main hall of the Lord, then ask the martyr Varvara. Prayer is over. She intercedes for others. She is that kind of person, which is true…. Because God has appointed her to occupy such a position in heaven, that is, everyone has the full right to pray to her and ask for action. Confession.”
  Pantele just kept nagging, regardless of whether Yegorushka was listening or not. He spoke lazily, talking to himself, neither raising or lowering his voice, but he was able to say many things in a short period of time. What he said was all composed of fragmentary fragments, with little contact with each other, Yegorushka didn’t find it interesting at all. The reason why he said these words may only be because after spending the whole night in silence, now in the morning, he needs to check his thoughts to see if they are all there.