Каминяр Дмитрий Генаддьевич: другие произведения.

N. Sladkov: Forest Hide-Outs

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  • Аннотация:
    Перевод рассказа Н. Сладкова "Лесные тайнички"

  The forest is deep, and green, and full of rustling, squeaks, songs.
  But then a hunter entered it, and everybody hid in alarm. Like a wave in the water from a cast stone, alarm spread from tree to tree. All hid behind bushes and between the branches - and quieted down.
  Now, if you want to see things - become invisible yourself; if you want to hear them - be unheard; if you want to understand - just stand still.
  I know this. I know that from all the forest hide-outs I am being watched by quickly-moving eyes, and moist noses are catching the smells that are carried off of me by the breezes. There are plenty of birds and beasts around me. But should you try to find them!..
  I came here to seek the scops owl - a tiny, starling-sized, bird.
  All night longs it cries, like a wind-up toy, its" call "Scree! Scree! Scree!" - just as a clock would go "Tic! Tic! Tic!"
  At dawn, however, that forest clock will stop: the scops owl falls silent and hides. And it hides so adroitly, that it's as if the bird was never in the forest.
  The call of the scops owl - the night-time clock - was heard by many, yet what does the bird look like? I knew it only from the pictures. And I wanted to see it live so badly that I spent the whole day in the forest, examined every tree and branch, and peeked into every bush. I got tired. I got hungry. But I never found the owl.
  So I sat down onto an old stump. And I sit quietly.
  And behold, out of nowhere, a snake makes an appearance. Grey-coloured one as well. Its" flat head hangs off the thin neck like a bud off a stem. It had crawled out of somewhere and stares me in the eye, as if expecting something.
  The snake can get into anyplace, so it ought to know.
  And so I speak to it, as if it was a fairy tale:
  "Snake, oh snake, tell me, where dwells the scops owl, the night-time clock?"
  The snake just flicked its tongue and slithered back into grass.
  ...And just like in a fairy tale, the forest's hide-outs opened before me.
  The snake took its' time to slither through grass, appeared once more next to another stump - and slid beneath its' moss-covered roots. It slid beneath, but what slid out was a big green lizard with a blue head. It was as if someone pushed it out. The lizard rustled through dry leaves - and scuttled into someone's burrow.
  In the burrow was another hide-out. It was owned by a blunt-faced vole.
  The vole got scared by the blue-headed lizard, fled from the burrow, from the darkness into light, got disoriented, and fled under a lying log.
  Squeaks and scurrying started then beneath the log. There too was a hide-out. And the whole day long two critters slept in it - the edible dormice. Two critters that looked like squirrels.
  The dormice fled from the log, crazed from fear. Their tails were perked upright. They fled up a tree. They chattered, and then they grew even more scared, so they fled even further up, spiral-ling around the trunk.
  And higher up in the tree trunk was a hole.
  The dormice fled into it - and crashed into each other at the entrance. Squeaking from pain, they charged simultaneously at it - and fell into it together at once.
  And out of it - whoosh! - a small arboreal imp. The ears on the top of the head were just like horns. The eyes were round and yellow. It sat on a branch with its' back towards me, but it turned its" head so around, that it stared me right in the face.
  Of course, it was no imp but the scops owl - the night-time clock!
  I didn't have time to blink when it whooshed back into the foliage. And from there came scurryings and squeaks: someone was hiding there as well.
  Thus from tree-hole to tree-hole, from burrow to burrow, from log to log, from bush to bush, from crack to crack scurries the forest's small-folk, revealing to me their hiding places.
  From tree to tree, from bush to bush, like a wave from a rock the alarm spreads through the forest. All hid behind bushes and between the branches - and quieted down.
  If you want to see things - become invisible yourself; if you want to hear them - be unheard; if you want to understand - just stand still.
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