The Resurected Pig. Chapter 10

THE RESURRECTED PIG

          People, who live in the Ukrainian village, wake up very early. At six in the morning almost all the adult population is already on their feet. Even if you have a terrible hangover after a late night party, you have to get up and work. If you get sick, you will not stay bed, because the cattle need care. It is practically impossible to get away from work even if you barely stand on your feet from the illness that has taken away all your strength, you need to get up and take care of your household. There is no one to rely on: everyone has their own worries.
Family life has brought Cardan an additional burden on his body. He gets up at five in the morning, half dead, half alive from a murderous effect of alcohol, takes a scythe and goes to a field. After five minute`s hard work under a scorching sun he hides in the shade, pours some water from a three-liter glass jar and continues scything again.
After a few days the hay dries up – he needs to have it delivered to his house. They get it home by tractor and begin to hide it in the barn. The wife passes her husband weighty pitchforks of hay to the attic of the barn, and Cardan distributes it there evenly across the corners trying to put as much as possible in one place. The heat in the attic is so intolerable in the summer that he is totally soaked wet with perspiration from head to toe.
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The sweat flows down the forehead into the eyes, burns like fire, eats away, drips from the nose as if from a spring icicle heated by the sun.

Cardan grabs the shirt quickly that he has put off, wipes his face and continues to lay up the hay. Three minutes later his eyes are flushed with sweat again.  He takes the shirt, but it is already wet like a mop rag, wrings it out it from the moisture, wipes his face and dashes "into the battle" again .The hay sticks to the wet body, its small particles penetrate into intimate places; it prickles: it is unpleasant, awful, but the work has to be done, otherwise there will be no food for the cattle in the winter.
At last the work is over, he has a few drinks of vodka, takes off his physical and moral tension, and goes to bed. Next morning he gets a new assignment from his wife. Cardan sees rest only in his dreams. Winter has come and brought severe frosts - firewood needs delivering. Cardan finds people for help; he is unable to manage it by himself - the logs are too heavy. They go to the forest by tractor. A good dry tree stands there. It is tall and thick, one can hardly put his arms around it. They fell it, saw into parts, take up together – no, they are too heavy to carry. Once again they saw each log into two parts and then put them into a pile. Now they can have a drink of vodka. The fire is cracking; a piece of pork lard is being fried on a stick. Alcohol warms them inside, their heads become slightly dizzy, and a pleasant conversation makes the hard work easier. The next day he needs to look for transport to deliver the logs from the forest. Cardan finds someone to help him. The guys are eager to get some booze, so they help him to load the logs onto the trailer and then unload them at delivery. This is how people live in the village providing mutual assistance to each other; the gratitude for help is alcohol and a heart-to-heart talk. A human organism can hardly sustain such strain for a long time; there many a villager who early join the other world. They cannot transfer their skills to the younger generation, because the birth rate in the village is very low. Nurseries are closed, schools, first aid medical offices are transferred to the district centers, or villages with a larger population. It is necessary for villagers to learn skills of managing their households for themselves because of absence of instructors studying the trade by their own mistakes.

One day at four in the morning there was a knock at the window of Cardan`s house waking him earlier than usual.
"Who's there," he asked going over to the window.
"Open the door. I`m your neighbour.  I need to talk to you".
"Oh, gosh, how hard it is to get up so early," thought Cardan and went to open the door to his neighbor carrying a heavy head with pulsating temples on his shoulders.
"Come on, come inside, don`t let the cold in."
The early guest quickly ran past Cardan into the warm room.
“What on earth has happened?” stroking the top of his head, asked Cardan in a dissatisfied voice.
“The pig is dying, it is necessary to kill it immediately. Can you help me?”
“Of course, I can do that. I'll do everything that is needed to give you a hand," Cardan revived, feeling the opportunity to get a drink and extinguish the hangover.
After explaining his wife such an early visit of the neighbor, he heard compelling instructions from his her, “Go and help them! If something bad happens to us, who we will turn to? Will you be able to handle it?”
“Of course, I'm a grown-up man. It`s not for the first time that I going to kill a pig. I certainly can do that. I'll manage,” with unceasing assurances Cardan calmed his wife down.

         At the neighbor `s house the whole family was already on their feet; bowls, cast-iron pots, pans were prepared ... The housewife rushed around the house, submerged in the preparations. The neighbour led Cardan inside and invited him to the table.
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"Let`s have a drink of vodka for bravery," he suggested.
"Of course," Cardan supported him instantly.
 "Have you ever killed pigs? Will you manage?" The concerned housewife asked.
“Definitely, I will. Don`t worry.  I'll do everything without problems. I have stabbed a lot of them in my life. When I was in the army, I had to do it almost every day, because I served at a regiment pigsty," he lied.

In fact, he knew the process of slaughtering a pig only theoretically. He decided that the knowledge obtained from the stories of his comrades would help him cope with such a trifling matter.
“What happened to the pig that you decided to stab it suddenly?”
“It does not eat anything. We are afraid that it will die. It is better to do it time, or it will be too late. And then the invested money and labor will go to nothing," the thrifty housewife explained.

          It was still quite dark outside. They arranged an electric cable with a lamp and illuminated the yard - the field for cruel activity was ready. Cardan got a self-made knife for killing hogs. The pig was lured out into the yard. The host scratched it behind its ear; it calmed down, grunted, but sensing the unskillful actions of the killer, exploded with a deafening yelp. Cardan threw a knife quickly under its left leg and plunged it up to the very hilt, according to his idea right in the heart. The curtains on the windows of the house closed immediately; frightened children, watching the bloody process, ran away from the window and hid under the blanket. The hostess took refuge in the next room and cried. She gave so much time for the care of the pig that she got used to it as if to a member of the family. Now her "four-legged friend" was leaving this world. "Well, this is life, there's nothing to be done.
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We all will go there sooner or later," the housewife reassured herself with comforting thoughts.
The butchers, having managed with the pig, went into the house to relieve the stress.
"You were right. I saw your experienced hand,” the happy host praised. “Your reaction was as quick as lightning! Such a blow! I just caught a glimpse of a flashing blade! One, two - and it was finished!"

Cardan always reacted quickly when there was a binge awaiting him. He acted on autopilot. Everything seemed to happen by itself. He did not even strain himself; the inner will guided his hands, legs, and the brain itself. He completely trusted his inner strength that more than once pulled him out of trouble, more than once rescued him in a difficult moment. He relied on it this time too, and it brought him the desired result again.
 
Butchers relieved the stress by having a few drinks of vodka.
“Well, let`s have one more drink. Then we`ll go and cut the pig into pieces. It's cold outside, and the vodka will warm us.”
No sooner had they refilled their glasses, than the frightened hostess flung into the house in horror.
"The pig's gone! It is nowhere to be found! Someone has stolen it! Call the police!"

         The great masters of slaughtering of the cattle ran into the yard. Nowhere! One of them went around the house, the second dashed to the street, then into the barn. Finally, they found the pig in the garden lying in a deep snowdrift. "Oh, that scoundrel!” thought the neighbor about Cardan. “And how well he bragged, "I, I, I… I know, I know, I'll do it!" he probably did not get it right into the heart." But he said nothing, hardly suppressing his internal discontent. After all, there was no one else to turn to - all the experienced men in the village had died; and as the saying goes, the place where is no fish is found even a crayfish is fish.          
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He would not be a rural craftsman if the necessity did not make Cardan develop the skills necessary for survival. This is the way things are in the Ukrainian village.
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