The delicate Truth dressed in beautiful clothes had an elegant bearing, She had spruced herself up for cripples and wrenches and freaks. The rough rugged Lie tricked the Truth into visiting her at her dwelling Telling her that she could stay for the night, for days or for weeks. The gullible Truth fell asleep with no bad premonition, She slacked off and broke into a frivolous smile in her dream. The rough Lie pulled to herself the blanket and cushion, Drove her sting through the Truth and was pleased, it would seem. Then she got up and pulled her a bulldog’s face rudely, She’s only a woman, so why should she bother at all? There’s no difference between them, the Truth and the Lie, absolutely, Should they both get stripped naked, to swallow them whole. She untwisted the beautiful bright orange band from her hair, Grabbed some shoes and some clothes taking measures by sight, And the money, the watch and the documents, too, lying there, Then she swore like a fishwife, spit out and then took to flight. It was not until morning that the Truth had discovered the loss and Taking a careful look at herself she stood in surprise: Someone had daubed her with soot, she looked dirty and glossy But anything else, on the whole, was all right. When they stoned her the Truth grinned and laughed in their faces. «It’s lies, and the Lie has my clothes on. I reject all the blames». Two cripples were taking the minute. They weren’t very gracious, They scolded her angrily, shouting and calling her names, Calling her «wicked» and saying she was worse than just wicked, Setting a watchdog at her and smearing ‘er all over with mud... They shouted: «She’s got to be exiled, kicked out, evicted! Within twenty four hours we’ve got to get rid of this slut!» The minute wound up with a long angry scolding conclusion (They had also imputed offences of somebody else to the truth): «A foul creature dared call herself "Truth", for the sake of confusion, While she’d swapped all her things for indulgence and booze». The prudent Truth wept and sobbed, swore by God and by honour, Knocked about the world, went through poverty, illness, what not. The dirty Lie stole a thoroughbred horse from the owner And set off at a gallop before she got caught.
There’s a crank that still fights for the Truth with persistence, Though there’s little of truth in what the truth seeker says. «The neat pure Truth will triumph one day if, for instance, She plays the same tricks as the downright Lie always plays!» Sitting at table in a circle of mates, drinking wine or whatever, You never can tell if you’ll manage to really get by. You’ll be relieved of your clothes, as sure as ever, Look, your trousers are worn by the cunning insidious Lie. Look, your watch is being used by the cunning insidious Lie. Look, your horse is being ridden by the cunning insidious Lie.
© Alec Vagapov. Translation, 1998