In a strange house, in a far away land,
her portrait hangs on the wall;
she herself is dying like a beggar woman,
lying on straw, in pain that can’t be told.
But here she looks as she always did look –
she is young, rich and draped
in the luxurious green cloak
in which she was always portrayed.
I gaze at your counternance as if at an icon…
‘Blessed be your name slaughtered Rus!’
I quietly touch your cloak with one hand;
and with that same hand make the sign of the cross.
by Тэффи (Teffi) (1872 – 1952)
a.k.a. Надежда Александровна Лoхвицкая (Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya)
translated by Robert Chandler
Happy New Year to you all! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! С новым годом!
New Year’s Day and, to a lesser extent, Christmas Day are a major holiday period in Russia so of course some of her greatest writers wrote stories set during this time of year.
You may wonder why I titled this entry with New Year preceding Christmas. The answer is quite simple: In Russia the Eastern Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar and thus celebrates Christmas Day on or near January 7. This date works out to be December 25 in the Julian calendar which existed prior to the Gregorian calendar most of us use today.
Nonetheless here is the reading list for you to choose from:
- THE NEW YEAR’S TREE by Mikhail Zoshchenko
- THE BOYS by Anton Chekhov
- A CHRISTMAS TREE AND A WEDDING by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- AT CHRISTMASTIDE by Anton Chekhov
- DREAM OF A YOUNG TSAR by Lev Tolstoy
- MAKAR’S DREAM by Vladimir Korolenko
- A WOMAN’S KINGDOM by Anton Chekhov
- A DISTANT CHRISTMAS EVE by Kaudia Lukashevich
- THE LITTLE BOY AT CHRIST’S CHRISTMAS TREE by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- CHRISTMAS PHANTOMS by Maxim Gorky
- A LIFELESS ANIMAL by Teffi (a.k.a. Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya)
- MY LAST CHRISTMAS by Mikhail Zoshchenko
There are no doubt many others so if you have any recommendations please leave a comment.