Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson




34 Russia


“When the said cavalcade had moved off a long way, Mullah first of all uttering his favorite saying: ‘So-and-so-and-so-must-be; do-not-do-what-must-not-be,’ and having also uttered his favorite exclamation, somewhat resembling ‘Zrrt!!,’ he returned to his place and suggested to me that I should do the same, then, having arranged the still smoldering charcoal on his ‘Kalyan,’ he sighed deeply and pronounced the following tirade, which, as always, was not immediately understandable.


“‘Just now, in the company of a large number of “well-bred-turkeys,” a “crow” of this country passed by, who although one of the chiefs and of high rank, was yet nevertheless rumpled and badly molting.


“‘During recent times, I don’t know why, “high-rank-crows” of this country no longer in general take a single step without these “well-bred-turkeys”; they evidently do this in the hope that maybe, perhaps, the pitiable remains of the feathers would, owing to their being constantly within the powerful radiations of these turkeys, become a little stronger and cease to fall out.’


“And indeed, when after he had pronounced the tirade and had thoroughly finished ‘hubble-bubbling’ the water in his ‘Kalyan,’ he—while giving in his subsequent speech with the ‘subtle venom’ which is proper to him, a definition of the whole presence and general essence of the beings of the contemporary community ‘Persia’—explained to me that he compared the beings of this same community ‘Persia’ to the birds, crows, while the beings of the large community ‘Russia’ who formed just that cortege which had galloped along the street, he compared to the birds, turkeys.