was almost quite dark in the room. The little girl was dozing, curled
near the stove. The fire was flickering feebly with a reddish light
lighted up the woman's knees and a bit of the floor.
started whining and
scratched at the door. The chickens on the ladder cackled low and long.
Now a deep
in the room. A damp chill rose from the wet floor.
suddenly got up to
peer through the window at the village street; it was empty. The snow
falling thickly, blotting out everything at a few steps' distance.
she paused in front of the bed, but only for a moment; then she
pulled away the feather-bed roughly and determinedly, and threw it on
the other bedstead. She took the dying man under the armpits and lifted
him high up.
Open the door.'
jumped up, frightened,
and opened the door.
here...take hold of
clutched at her grandfather's
feet with her small hands and looked up in expectation.
on...help me to
carry him! Don't stare about...carry him, that's what you've got to
she commanded again, severely.
The old man
was heavy, perfectly
helpless, and apparently unconscious; he did not seem to realize what
being done to him. She held him tight and carried, or rather dragged
along, for the little girl had stumbled over the threshold and dropped
his feet, which were drawing two deep furrows in the snow.
penetrating cold had
restored the dying man to consciousness, for in the yard he began to
and utter broken words:
right, you scream...scream
as much as you like, nobody will hear you, even if you shout your mouth
him across the
yard, opened the door of the pigsty with her foot, pulled him in, and
him close to the wall.
came forward, grunting,
followed by her piglets.
malu, malu, malu!'
came out of the
sty and she banged the door, but returned almost immediately, tore the
shirt open on the old man's chest, tore off his chaplet, and took it
his naked leg,
which was lying across the opening, with her clog, and went out.
were running about
in the yard; she looked back at them from the passage.
malu, malu, malu!'
came running up
to her, squeaking; she brought out a bowlfull of potatoes and emptied
The mother-pig began to eat greedily, and the piglets poked their pink
noses into her and pulled at her until nothing but their loud smacking
could be heard.
lighted a small lamp
above the fireplace and tore open the chaplet, with her back turned
the window. A sudden gleam came into her eyes, when a number of
and two silver roubles fell out.
just talk then,
his saying that he'd put by the money for the funeral.' She wrapped the
money up in a rag and put it into the chest.
May eternal blindness
She put the
pots and pans
straight and tried to cheer the fire which was going out.
That plague of
a boy has left me without a drop of water.'
outside and called
'Ignatz! Hi! Ignatz!'
then the snow creaked under stealthy footsteps and a shadow stole past
the window. Antkowa seized a piece of wood and stood by the door which
was flung wide open; a small boy of about nine entered the room.
stinking idler! Running
about the village, are you? And not a drop of water in the house!'
him with one hand
she beat the screaming child with the other.
won't do it again....
Mummy, leave off.... Mumm...'
him long and hard,
giving vent to all her pent-up rage.
Ow! All ye Saints!
She's killing me!'
about, and not a drop of water do you fetch me, and there's no wood am
I to feed you for nothing, and you worrying me into the bargain?' She
At last he
tore himself away,
jumped out by the window, and shouted back at her with a tear-choked
paws rot off to
the elbows, you dog of a mother! May you be stricken down, you sow!...
You may wait till you're manure before I fetch you any water!'
And he ran
back to the village.