The icon hangs in the left corner at them - Probably, they are milkdrinkers, - Sacking lies on the floor at them, Heels have trampled on it. Beds and one table - that is with them the whole comfort, - And two - former wine - barrels, - As if I came upon an invalid refuge - A passer-by in a starched shirt. I was given wine - and from where is it! For two rubles - two magnificent pitchers, - And the grandfather - an invalid without teeth and legs - Looked pleadingly to me back. "I wish success!" - I said to him. "There is no success for an old fogey!" We drank with him, sat in the smoke, - And he began at once, and began!.. "And what, - he says, - have given me the authorities For my teeth and for my legs! And the grandfather - hellishly - get drunk to your heartís content - And scrape ways with the stumps. Oh, had I legs - I would manage better, Could better tackle someone, that I am on the poverty line! Itís useless - the grandfather demanded, - Itís useless, it will come to nothing! "Whatís needed, grandfather" - I asked the old man. "But needs are a trifle: That - god be with them, with the ZK - but that at least the Cheka Would be interested in my fate..."
© Elisabeth Jelinek. Translation, 2018