January 3rd

Danill Silantev

Photo of Moscow, Danill Silantev


 THIS story is from Russia, Mordochka. It’s a true story because you know that’s the only kind I tell you.

     It was a cold evening. The light in the sky was gone. The warmth in the air was gone. People hurried here and there and everywhere. They hurried home not only because it was cold, but because it was noisy on the street. It was noisy in the metro. It was even noisy on the top of the buildings where the birds sat trying to sing beautiful songs to the noisy people. 

     Walking down the street was a man named Nikolai. He was very hungry. For breakfast that day he had two cups of tea. For lunch he had two cups of tea. But he was happy. There was now money in his pocket after a long day of hard work. He worked hard every day. But sometimes he wasn’t paid. In fact, some- times he worked many days without being paid. At the end of this day, however, he was paid and he was on his way home to eat a BIG dinner. (No, Mordochka, it’s not time to eat. You have to go out first and then you can eat. Yes, it’s a short story.)

     A market was not far away. Nikolai hurried down the street to get some potatoes, bread, and meat.  Suddenly he stopped.  

     He completely stopped. He stood completely still and listened. A young man was singing. His voice was more beautiful than any voice Nikolai had ever heard. The young man didn’t sing like he was standing on a corner. He didn’t think about the people rushing by to get home. He sang like he was on the biggest stage in Moscow. He sang with all his heart—as if everyone in the world could hear him. It seemed to Nikolai, the young man was giving people a reason to live and not just exist. Nikolai listened a long time. Before he left, he put all the money in his pocket in the young blind man’s hat that was on the ground near his feet, and happily went on his way. He said he rarely remembered being so happy from something. (No, Mordochka, not from giving him his money. He said he didn’t even think about that. He was happy from the man’s singing.) 

     When Nikolai arrived home, his neighbor happened to open his apartment door just at that moment and saw him.  “Eh, Nikolai! You’re late tonight! You must be hungry. My wife made a table full of pelmini for dinner. Come in and have some!”  

     And Nikolai did, very happily.

Told to us by Nikolai

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