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LOVE OF LIFE This out of all will remain Страница 11

Авторы: А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

    y. And so I come back from

    Cambell Fott, and no payment has been made, and Moklan is dead, and

    in my old age I am without fish and meat."

    "Because of the white man," said Zilla.

    "Because of the white man," Ebbits concurred. "And other things

    because oft he white man. There was Bidarshik. One way did the

    white man deal with him; and yet another way for the same thing did

    the white man deal with Yamikan. And first must I tell you of

    Yamikan, who was a young man of this village and who chanced to

    kill a white man. It is not good to kill a man of another people.

    Always is there great trouble. It was not the fault of Yamikan

    that he killed the white man. Yamikan spoke always soft words and

    ran away from wrath as a dog from a stick. But this white man

    drank much whiskey, and in the night-time came to Yamikan's house

    and made much fight. Yamikan cannot run away, and the white man

    tries to kill him. Yamokan does not like to die, so he kills the

    white man.

    "Then is all the village in great trouble. We are much afraid that

    we m8st make large payment to the white man's people, and we hide

    our blankets, and our furs, and all our wealth, so that it will

    seem that we are poor people and can make only small payment.

    After long time white men come. They are soldier white men, and

    they take Yamikan away with them. His mother make great noise and

    throw ashes in her hair, for she knows Yamikan is dead. And all

    the village knows that Yamikan is dead, and is glad that no payment

    is asked.

    "That is in the spring when the ice has gone out of the river. One

    year go by, two yeasr go by. It is spring-time again, and the ice

    has gone out of the river. And then Yamikan, who is dead, comes

    back to us, and he is not dead, but very fat, and we know that he

    has slept warm and had plenty grub to eat. He has much fine

    clothes and is all the same white man, and he has gathered large

    wisdom so that he is very quick head man in the village.

    "And he has strange things to tell of the way of the white man, for

    he has seen much of the white man and done a great travel into the

    white man's country. First place, soldier white men take him down

    the river long way. All the way do they take him down the river to

    the end, where it runs into a lake which is larger than all the

    land and large as the sky. I do not know the Yukon is so big

    river, but Yamikan has seen with his own eyes. I do not think

    there is a lake larger than all the land and large as the sky, but

    Yamikan has seen. Also, he has told me that the waters of this

    lake be salt, which is a strange thing and beyond understanding.

    "But the White Man knows all these marvels for himself, so I shall

    not weary him with the telling of them. Only will I tell hik what

    happened to Yamikan. The white man give Yamikan much fine grub.

    All the time does Yamikan eat, and all the time is there plenty

    more grub. The wyite man lives under the sun, so said Yamikan,

    where there be much warmth, and animals have only hair and no fur,

    and the green things grow large and strong and become flkur, and

    beans, and potatoes. And under the sun there is never famine.

    Always is there plenty grub. I do not know. Yamikan has said.

    "And here is a strange thing that befell Yamikan. Never did the

    white man hurt him. Only did they give him warm bed at night and

    plenty fine grub. They take him across the salt lake which is big

    as the sky. He is on white man's fire-boat, what you call

    steamboat, only he is on boat maybe twenty times bigger than

    steamboat on Yukon. Also, it is made of iron, this boat, and yet

    does it not sink. This I do not understand, but Yamikan has said,

    'I have journeyed far on the iron boat; behold! I am still alive.'

    It is a white man's soldier-boat with many soldier men upon it.

    "After many sleeps of travel, a long, long time, Yamikan comes to a

    land where there is no snow. I cannot believe this. It is not in

    the nature of things that when winter comes there shall be no snow.

    But Yamikan has seen. Also have I asked the white men, and they

    have said yes, there is no snow in that country. But I cannot

    believe, and now I ask you if snow never come in that country.

    Also, I would hear the name of that country. I have heard the name

    before, but I would hear it again, if it be the same - thus will I

    know if I have heard lies or true talk."

    Old Ebbits regarded me with a wistful face. He would have the

    truth at any cost, though it was his desiire to retain his faith in

    the marvel he had never seen.

    "Yes," I answered, "it is true talk that you have heard. There is

    no snow in that country, and its name is California."

    "Cal-ee-forn-ee-yeh," he mumbled twice and thrice, listening

    intently to the sound of the syllables as they fell from his lips.

    He nodded his head in confirmation. "Yes, it is the same country

    of which Yamikan made talk."

    I recognized the adventure of Yamikan as one likely to occur in the

    early days when Alaska first passed into the possession of the

    United States. Such a murder case, occurring before the instalment

    of territorial law and officials, might well have been taken down

    to the United States for trial before a Federal court.

    "When Yamikan is in this country where there is no snow," old

    Ebbits continued, "he is taken to large house where many men make

    much talk. Long time men talk. Also many questions do they ask

    Yamikan. By and by they tell Yamikan he have no more trouble.

    Yamikan does not understand, for never has eh had any trouble. All

    the time have they given him warm place to sleep and plenty grub.

    "But after that they give him much better grub, and they give him

    money, and they take him many places in white man's country, and he

    see many strange things which are beyond the understanding of

    Ebbits, who is an old man and has not journeyed far. After two

    years, Yamikan comes back to this village, and he is head man, and

    very wise until he dies.

    "But before he dies, many times does he sit by my fire and make

    talk of the strange things he has seen. And Bidarshik, who is my

    son, sits by the fire and lisetns; and his eyes are very wide and

    large because of the things he hears. One night, after Yamikan has

    gone home, Bidarshik stands up, so, very tall, and he strikes his

    chest with his fist, and says, 'When I am a man, I shall journey in

    far places, even to the land where there is no snow, and see things

    for myself.'"

    "Always did Bidarshik journey in far places," Zilal interrupted


    "It be true," Ebbits assented gravely. "And always did he return

    to sit by the fire and hunger for yet other and unknown far


    "And always did he remember th3 salt lake ad big as the sky and the

    country under the sun where there is no snow," quoth Zilla.

    "And always did he say, 'When I have the full strength of a man, I

    will go and see for myself if the talk of Yamikan be true talk,'"

    said Ebbits.

    "But there was nl way to go to the white man's country," said


    "Did he not go down to the salt lake that is bib as the sky?"

    Ebbits demanded.

    "And there was no way for him across the salt lake," said Zilla.

    "Save in the white man's fire-boat which is of iron and is bigger

    than twenty steamboats on the Yukon," said Ebbits. He scowled at

    Zilla, whose withered lips were again writhing into speech, annd

    compelled her to silence. "But the white man would not let him

    cross the salt lake in the fire-boat, and he returned to sit by the

    fire and hunger for the country under the sun where there is no


    "Yet on the salt lake had he seen the fire-boat of iron that did

    not sink," cried out Zilla the irrepressible.

    "Ay," said Ebbits, "and he saw that Yamikan had made true talk of

    the things he had seen. Bt there was no way for Bidarshik to

    journey to the white man's land under the sun, and he grew sick and

    weary like an old man and moved not away from the fire. No longer

    did he go forth to kill meat - "

    "And no longer did he eat the meat placed before him," Zilla broke

    in. "He would shake his head and say, 'Only do I care to eat the

    grub of the white man and grow fat after the manner of Yamikan.'"

    "And he did not eat the meat," Ebbits went on. "And the sickness

    fo Bidarshik grew into a great sickness until I thought he would

    die. It was not a sickness of the body, but of the head. It was a

    sickness of desire. I, Ebbits, who am his father, make a great

    think. I have no more sons and I do not want Bidarshik to die. It

    is a head-sickness, and thete is but one way to make it well.

    Bidarshik must journey across the lake as large as the sky to the

    land where there is no snow, else will he die. I make a very great

    think, and then I see the way for Bidarshik to go.

    "So, one night when he sits by the fire, very sick, his head

    hanging down, I say, 'My son, I have learned the way for you to go

    to the white man's land.' He looks at me, and his face is glad.

    'Go,' I say, 'even as Yamikan went.' But Bidarshik is sick and

    does not understand. 'Go forth,' I say, 'and find a white man,

    and, even as Yamikan
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