I found a translation of my first story.



(from The Fable Tower of Ivory)

I’m a woman, that is why I’m inguisitive to mortal sin. I’m a writer, that is why I’m inguisitive twice as much, just to su­per-mortal sin.

People did the oddest things because of their ingnisitive bent — for instance, they built the Tower of Babel, travelled round the world and created Homunculas…

By the way, some words about Faustus… I open the thick ‘Necronomicon’, the book of spells borrowed from Howard. Its iron-hard black leather cover is made of some unknown skinned animal. I’ve got some spare time, just enough to forget about my children, who are going to cover the floor I’ve just mopped with lots of dirty little foot­steps.

I concentrate…I get interested in…I’ve never seen Elemental Spir­its. The Spirit of Earth is to came first. It is either a gnome or a house-spirit. I’ll be able to give olders to him in case I’m not afraid of Ele­ments. Once, wizards’pupils had to spend some days on end in dark caves during their initiation ceremonies they had to climb up inacces­sible rocks to show their ability of ruling the Spirits of Earth…

In my view, the Earth is the very sail out of which we dig pota­toes…

A’m I free from the quality all gnomes possess — greediness? If not, then I’d better not deal with them…

Have I ever been greedy? Or have I not? If I try to call to my mind same casual cases…

But it’s already late…The floor planks jump from hard muffled strokes coming from below (similar sound effects were invented by the young producers of the film ‘Viy’)*. So over the clean floor comes into view a round head, wrapped in a dark checked kerchief.

The gnome gets out onto the surface, without leaving any dirt on it – which seems very strange. Sorry, it’s not a Gnome, it’s a She-gnome An old round face, vigilant dark eyes, a quilted short coat, and that checker kerchief… She is just like our local woman-dvornik, one of the former chorist girls from the Opera House. When her ‘dear’ authorities at the time when she was to retire, recommended her to train for a cloak room attendant or an usherette, the future woman-dvornik declared that she would rather sweep the streets than

The She-gnome takes a seat on my right; without saying a word she takes off the thick woollen gloves from her manicured nails and throws them on the table as if she were a queen.

Sounds of some wet bare feet are heard from the bathroom. Soon an Undine, the Spirit of Water, will come out. She must look like a Greek statue, shrouded in mist my strength, the mind – the only means of power over Undines. She personifying softness of character and shallowness of waters. In the doorway appears a stout figure in long, faded striped vest and men’s rolled-up trousers. That is my Undine, who is not in her first youth, and who has a deep-red nose, which makes me think she has bad habits

The Undine heavily sinks into the chair on my left, and onto the varnished surface of the table, waterdrops begin dripping from her untidy rags; then they form a thin streamlet creeping towards the gloves of the She-gnome. She puts them aside, her dark small eyes gleaming angrily from under the kerchief.

All of a sudden a Sylph, the Spirit of Air, falls down from above; he looks like a pilot of the century dawn – he is wearing a leather helmet, large spectacles and bell-shaped gloves and in his teeth he has a long golden- brimmed cigarette The Sylph aimed at taking a seat in the arm­chair but failed; and rising from the floor (which I’ve just mopped by the way) he care fully wipes his leather fur-lined coat, and says some­thing through his teeth. At last he is seated opposite me looking at me with a piercing look and clenching the cigarette in his teeth.

And I hoped to see a subtle, transparent creature with two little wings One thing is good – I’m quite a dignified person, otherwise the Sylph, whose element is infidelity, wouldn’t sit so quietly.

And the Salamander, the Spirit of Fire, personifies passion. She must have got out of the gas-geyser, the house of ‘eternal fire’, because she walks out from the kitchen. The Salamander is young and very nerv­ous. Her hair is dyed bright-yellow, quile blonde at the ends and coal-black at the roots. She is wearing a lot of bright make-up, and her dress is shorter than a summer night

I realise that the table has only four sides and there is no room left for the last visitor. I quickly move to the corner of the table, with ‘Necronomicon’ in my hands; being a married woman I can afford to neglect the ancient superstition saying that a girl, who is seated at the corner of the table, will never marry. The Salamander takes the vacant seat, and with evident interest, looks at the Sylph who is lost in the puffs of smoke.

All are silent. The silence makes me feel depressed, and I come to realise that it is time I expressed my will and oldered my inmost wish fulfilled; it is time I asked about something vitally important and un­known to me, about something well-known only to spirits.

What can I wish? Every year’s publications of my books? Round-the-world travels?

While I’m considesing, the Sylph takes the cigarette out of his mouth and with his hoarse voice breaks the silence:

—Well, how much will you give for the repairs, missus?

Repairs? What repairs? I was just going to ask them about the struc­ture of the World…

Meanwhile the Undine begins to speak:

—The whitewash has fallen down. The ceiling in the bathroom is very dirty, it needs washing first.

—The paint has come off the floor, —states the She-gnome. —You must have never painted it since you varnished it long ago And var­nish is very expensive, you know.

— Have you got any oil-colours or shall we bring ours? – asks the Salamander. And the Sylph begins to explain how much tile we need for the kitchen and the bathroom, and how much each tiled square metre will cost…

I quietly close my ‘Necronomicon’, and on its cover, I clearly see some grease spots left by some dirty fingers. Romanticism, my golden romanticism! Do not leave me alone, please! Do spare my dull, miser­able life!



*The film was produced after the novel ‘Viy’ by Gogol



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