A Man of Weight or Chasing out the Devil – Reblogged

Can’t help myself: I am hooked!


( by Nikolay Leskov, 1879.
Abridged. )

( by Petr Shmelkov )

The ritual of chasing out the devil can be observed nowhere else than in Moscow, and then only if you have particularly good luck and special patronage.

I witnessed it from beginning to end thanks to a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, and I wish to record it for the benefit of those who really know and love the serious and sublime aspects of our national customs.

Although on my father’s side I come of gentry stock, on the other side I am close to the ‘people’: my mother’s family were merchants. She came of a wealthy household, but fell in love with my father and eloped with him. My late father was a ladies’ man, and if he set his cap at a girl, usually got his way. So it was with mama, but her parents paid…

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POEMS: Nameless & Devil



People would all fall,
Rise and again fall all.

For dues nature pays,
In this nature all dies.

To the fine or stricken
Stranger things happen.

Mystery is life itself;
God’s own other half.



Here thou are to rein in the pastured flock
With sweeter tender grass and shaded pond,
The falsehood in thy rule does only mock.

Basking in the elongated moments’ bond,
Thou make all thy bread from one rock;
For not one of any is yours to be found.

DARE DA MUTUWA (Night and Death)


Satan cooked his soup
Down in his darkest loop,
Where the Angel does reign
With cunning, fear and pain.

In some pit in that bowel
Of cooking fiery hell
Stayed two trivial ones,
Only peasants here once.

They didn’t say at first
What lust and thirst
Had conceived for them
Eternity in that realm.

How they did manage
To slip the timeless age
And torments they live,
Is beyond its believe.

To his loop they went;
All fearless and bent,
Stealing his whole pot
And left with the lot.

His sinfulness’ roar
And his flames tore.
All hell broke loose,
A search he chose.

Emptied pot aground.
They were then found,
After a taste revealed,
His dishes aren’t mealed.

His food all waste;
Brewed of the haste
Of souls he did tap
Missing their last lap.

How do you punish
All those to finish
Forever in those hells,
Within their dead cells?

They did though say;
Here once as they lay,
Their ten years old ma
Calls ‘em Dare da Mutuwa.


Within the abyss rule;
Hidden is a secret pool
Of very cool pure water
Satan uses as it matter.

Because in all his might
He has only just sight
And can not ever know
A thought until it show.

He bribes and tease
His tenants with ease,
To know their thought
With the water sought.

How they always manage
To cheat timeless age
And agony they live,
Mortals cannot believe.

As Satan does prowl;
They nicked his bowl.
The water-skull whole,
Hell’s only thieves stole.

His cruelness’ roar
And his sulfur pour.
All hell broke loose,
A search again chose.

They were again found;
Empty skull aground,
After they drank its fill.
Their grin said a deal.

How may he punish
Those set to finish
Their lives in his hell,
Hopefully in their cell?

That’s where they failed,
When here they sailed.
For of all man has met
It’s always choice left.

That night she flirt
With death and dirt,
Their ten years old ma
Called ‘em Dare da Mutuwa.


Away on bad business,
Satan sets hell’s sadness.
Off to gain souls more,
He left hell as before.

How they again manage
To trick timeless age
And the pain they live,
Satan can’t just believe.

To his loop they went;
Again fearless as bent,
Stole his best soup yet
And with the lot left.

His demons they gave,
Smiling all so brave.
Hell has no conscience;
It produces disobedience.

As the guards ate away
Hell’s tenants stole away.
To his loop all went,
Many scared but bent.

They found in his rule
That hidden secret pool
Of cool water so pure.
Every one drank his cure.

There in warmth all stay,
From cell-pits’ heat away.
Here Satan found all;
He needn’t a roll call.

It was clearly mutiny
Beyond hell’s immunity.
He cherished his reign
And fear for his domain.

He casts the twins out,
They went with a shout.
How else could he punish
Those who seek his finish?

Again here they return
Like before are reborn.
Their ten years old ma
Calls ‘em Dare da Mutuwa.