Teal

Not a fishing story, hunting, but suddenly you will like it]

Granny nervously walks around the apartment: either the nonexistent dust is wiped out, or the dishes are rattled in the kitchen. We are waiting for grandfather from the hunt. It was already dark outside the window, drizzling fine boring rain, in the oven the beloved grandfather's meatballs cool down in a gravy, but it still isn’t and isn’t. Smells in the apartment soar such that I was exhausted all over. But without a grandfather we do not sit down at the table – it’s a tradition. Therefore, I am twice waiting for my grandfather.

But here, under the window, the brakes of the old Zhiguli creaked loudly, the door slammed and heavy steps began to swell up the steps. Granny happily darted to the door, patting me along the whirlwinds, and managed to open the door before the grandfather pressed the bell. This is their game – who is ahead. Grandma always wins. I think so, the grandfather rises more slowly, and pulls his hand to the bell. And when the door, deafening clanging locks, opens, Grandma looks at his grandfather with a sly such smile, that he begins to smile even more slyly.

Tall, wide, with tucked wads, with a backpack and a gun in a case on his shoulders and with ducks on his belt, he walks into the apartment, and the hallway is immediately filled with the smell of gunpowder and game, and something else special, hunting. He takes off his backpack, puts the cover in the corner, removes the game bag from his belt and stretches it to his granny, sits down on the chair, squeaking plaintively below him, and leans against the wall. My brother and I immediately rush to pull off his boots, and my grandfather smiles wearily, looking at our attempts. Then, stepping on the heel, he deftly tackles one boot, then the second, weaves footcloths and walks into the bathroom to wash himself.

– Grandfather, grandfather, and whom did you shoot? Grandfather, aren't you wet? And how many others shoot? And uncle Vanya?

We tails behind it, breathing in the amazingly delicious smell of the hunt, and we wait for stories. Ah, what stories the grandfather tells, it cannot be conveyed in any words! His stories smell of taiga and fire, and real adventures, and fairy tales, and dear, and it is not clear what else …

Finally, having washed and dressed, the grandfather sits down at the table, smacking Grandma on the top of the head. Before us, as if by magic, various vases and crabs with mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, some kind of lettuce, and long-awaited chops with crushed corn begin to appear. Hunger is stronger than the thirst for stories, so we begin hard knocking with spoons. Granny looks at us, leaning her cheek, and smiles happily. And only when fragrant tea soars in a cherished enameled mug with a minnow, and favorite grandfathers dry and a vase with raspberry jam appear on the table, the grandfather begins a leisurely story … And when the tea is drunk and the jam is eaten, I ask:

– Grandfather, and when will you take the hunt?

I always ask, every time and every time my grandfather smiles and replies:

– Soon. Here's how you grow up a bit, so take it.

– And when, when I grow up? Hurry!

– Do not rush, you still have time …

I once again came to the granny with my grandfather, he came. Already half a year as I go myself, I grew up. Just by entering the apartment, I already knew that my grandfather was preparing for a hunt: it smelled of gun grease, and from the back room came the humming. I took off my shoes and went to greet grandfather. I went in and sat down on the bed, trying not to interfere. My grandfather winked at me and continued to joke with a ramrod. On the table in front of him were brushes, rags, some things unknown to me.

Looking at the barrel to the light, the grandfather dexterously assembled a gun and suddenly handed me:

– Na-ka, try on.

With trembling hands, I took from him the heavy MTs-2112, put it to my shoulder … I had held a gun in my hands many times before, but for some reason this time seemed to me to be special.

– No, not so – the grandfather came up from the back. – Press tight to your shoulder, forgot?

I tried on looking at the target. A few minutes later my hands trembled noticeably …

– Pull the trigger … smoothly.

I jerked a finger, trying to squeeze the trigger – oh and tight!

– So you will never get – grandfather smiled …

By the night, when I almost could not hold a gun in my hands, my grandfather said with a sly smile:

– Enough. Tomorrow you will practice on the river.

– On the river? Tomorrow?! – I did not believe my ears. “Am I going hunting?”

– Going, going. Let's try on for the time being.

For another half-night my grandfather taught me to wind a footcloth, Grandma pushed my pants and wind up. Finally, the grandfather said:

– Go to bed, we'll go early.

Sleep? How can you fall asleep? Impossible! Impatience with a fire burned in the chest, forcing the heart to pound and not letting the eyes close …

Of course I fell asleep. Grandfather silently entered the bedroom and touched me on the shoulder. He was already dressed, only a storm jacket remained. I jumped up, rushed to the bathroom, then to the kitchen. Outside the window – deep night, and Grandma fusses, setting the table. Porridge, tea with sandwiches – how can all this be eaten in the middle of the night? Brakes creaked beneath the windows, and the grandfather rose. I jumped up, but my grandfather sat me down:

– Eat peacefully, no one will leave without you.

And he got up and went out into the corridor. Seeing my impatience, my grandmother quickly put the sandwiches on the newspaper, wrapped it and handed it to me:

– Run too.

I darted off, clutching the package to my chest. Grandfather grinned, took the sandwiches and grumbled jokingly:

“But I would starve my grandson to hunger …”

I got dressed very quickly and stood in the doorway, waiting for my grandfather. So he picked up a backpack and headed for the exit, leaving on the way:

– Do not forget your gun, hunter.

I walked up the steps, carrying a case with a gun on my shoulder and feeling like a real hunter. Uncle Vanya, grandfathers bosom friend, smoked, sitting on the hood of the "six". He saw me and smiled:

– Oooh, our regiment arrived. Hi, hunter!

– Hello.

My grandfather threw the backpack in the trunk, slammed it, took my gun and attached it in the cabin. I settled into the backseat, somehow having put my feet in the broods, and the car started off.

We rolled along the night silent city in complete darkness, the headlights pulled out from the darkness roadside bushes, curbs. Grandfather and uncle Vanya spoke about something in a low voice, but I was looking around and did not notice how I fell asleep.

Woke up from a familiar squeak of brakes. He opened his eyes … Wow! The leaden smooth surface of the river frosted in the wrong morning light, the sharp peaks of the trees pierced the gray sky covered with thin moorish clouds, the first birds tried voices. From the water and dampness … ducks. I do not know why, but I was sure that this is exactly how it smells like ducks. The grandfather became somehow collected, the movements lost their usual slow pace. Together with Uncle Vanya, they pulled the boats out of the trunk, and after a couple of minutes I was already working with my foot, stepping on the rubber "frog". Grandfather glanced at the gradually darkening sky:

– We're late, we're late …

– Grandfather, but where are we late?

The grandfather did not answer – he was already all there, on the river. Finally the boat is pumped up. Uncle Vanya picks it up with one hand and drags her to the water. Launching her into the water, he pushes his foot off the shore, jumps inside and takes up the oars.

– And where is Uncle Vanya?

– In skradok – grandfather speaks softly.

– And we?

– And we have our own, on the shore.

My grandfather and I hurriedly go upstream, holding the small “Dive” by the eyes. Suddenly, the grandfather turns to the water – in this place near the coast there is a solid wall of reeds, and a barely noticeable path leads deep into the thickets. Stepping carefully, grandfather sneaks further and further, I follow him. And here we were on a small wooden platform, surrounded on all sides by tall, grandfather-tall, reeds. The grandfather launches the boat and throws a rope loop on a peg sticking out of the water.

– Grandfather, and this skradok?

– Skradok. Do not be noisy.

– And who made the bridge here?

– I.

My grandfather was laconic, and I stopped troubling him with questions. He assembled a gun very quickly, stuffed cartridges into the store, and drove another one into the chamber. We wait. Chilly. Cold dampness sneaks under the jacket and strokes with icy fingers, a cool mist floats above the water, a gray glow rises above the taiga on the other side, depicting the silhouettes of trees and pines even more clearly.

Suddenly, somewhere above the river, a shot is heard, another one … Grandfather listens, holding the gun on his lap with the barrel to the water. A whistle of wings is heard somewhere nearby, grandfather jumps up, throws up his gun …

– B-bang! B-bang! B-bang!

The spent cartridges rolled along the flooring, a bluish, delicious smoke floated above the water, tangled in the reeds. The echo of the shots has not abated yet, and the grandfather has already untied the boat and deftly brought it to open water. In the water, not far from us, spreading broken wings, two ducks swam. I was flooded with a wave of delight! Hurrra! I'm on the real hunt!

– Grandfather, what are these ducks? – I immediately stuck to my grandfather with questions.

“Kryakovykh,” he said rather well, twirling a colorful carcass in his hands with a bright blue feather on the wing.

– What else are there?

– Different are – grandfather quickly filled the store. – There are diving, teals, mallards, pintails … and I don’t remember all.

Directly overhead, the already familiar whistling of wings rang out, the grandfather threw up his gun almost vertically and fired two shots. Another duck fell into the water. I jumped into the boat and quickly cellar to the duck. She suddenly raised her head and earned her wings, trying to swim away. Not here it was! In three strokes I caught up with the fugitive and snatched it out of the water. A white belly, white cheeks, a wide white border on the wings – it was definitely not a mall.

– Grandfather, and who is this? – I handed the trophy to my grandfather.

– And this is a dive.

I was bursting with happiness, I could hardly restrain myself from screaming at the top of my voice.

Reloading again, waiting further. The sun was getting higher and higher, and there were many ducks. Here and there, the sky was cut by herds of ducks, shooting was heard from all sides. Shot and grandfather. Not every shot brought a trophy, but still the grandfather had knocked down the heels of ducks. I looked at him and was amazed at the change that had happened to him. Where did the strict and serious grandfather go, who, with one shout, happened to calm down the fallen neighbor? Now in front of me sat a boy, the same as me! With eyes glowing with excitement and happiness, cheerful and somehow … light or something.

When the sun rose higher and the ducks became smaller, the grandfather reached out with a crunch and asked:

– Not starved?

I shook my head negatively – what kind of hunger is there when this is around? I was a little deaf from frequent shooting, but I would not trade my place for anything. Suddenly a herd of small ducks fell into the water directly in front of us about twenty meters away with a splash. Grandfather handed me a gun:

– Try it. Just remember how he taught – pull the trigger smoothly, but strongly.

I, in disbelief of my happiness, took the gun, pressed the butt tightly into my shoulder, and began to force down the ducks quietly sitting on the water. Full feeling that they just sat down to rest. He held his breath and gently pulled the trigger.

– B-bam! – The shot struck unexpectedly, butt butting heavily in the shoulder, the barrel threw up. Fraction showered on the water, covering the tab. The ducks tore off, flew over the water, often flapping their wings. But the two remained swimming, spreading its wings with bright green feathers. And here I could not stand it, I jumped up and cried out loudly:

– Ur-r-raaaaa!

My grandfather immediately pulled me down, took away his gun and said sternly:

“Never ride with a loaded gun.” Never.

And so seriously, he said that I drooped and just nodded.

– Swim for trophies – grandfather gently pushed me in the back. I immediately forgot all the grief: my ducks! Himself got, for real! As I swam up, I looked at the floating, spreading wings, birds for some time, trying to remember what I saw more – this is my first ever trophies in my life! My grandfather did not hurry me. He watched my happiness with a smile. And when I returned and handed him the ducks, he looked at me very seriously, then suddenly he blossomed in a smile and slapped me on the shoulder:

– With the field!

Luckily I had no limit. I turned the ducks this way and that, looking at them and breathing in the wonderful smell, the same one that my grandfather brought with him from the hunt. Now it is my smell!

– Grandfather, and what are these ducks?

– These are teals, Dinka.

– And how are they cooked?

– It is best to put out with cabbage.

– And Grandma put out?

– As you ask – grandfather smiled.

– How should I ask?

– And think that grandmother loves?

I shrugged.

– Oh, you, black dear – grandfather patted my hair.

– Flowers ?! – it dawned on me. – Where will I take the flowers now?

There is already a grandfather shrugged. Hmm, the situation …

Leaving the boat in the reeds, we went ashore and went to the fire. My grandfather pulled a large cauldron out of the trunk, and while I was going for firewood, I quickly stripped the ducks.

– Pinching a mallard bathe, it is easier to take off the skin along with a feather with a stocking, see? But you can pinch the teal – the feather comes off it easily.

– Grandfather, and what are we going to cook? You said teal is better with cabbage?

– The first ducks should definitely be eaten on the shore. Now we shall boil one of them.

– Shulum?

What amazing hunting words: mallard, teal, shulum … I believed and did not believe that it was all for real. I dreamed about it for so long, and here it is, my time has come. And somehow it became even a little sad that there would be no more first ducks, but then a wave of incredible happiness washed away all the worries, and I began to help my grandfather. He peeled potatoes and carrots, pepper in a mortar – grandfather only recognized such self-pounded.

When Uncle Vanya went ashore, dragging the wounded ducks, a breathtaking smell was floating above the clearing.

– With the field greeted his grandfather.

– And you with the field! – looking at my contented physiognomy, Uncle Vanya, of course, guessed everything. Interrogatively looked at me.

– Teals. Two! – I proudly reported.

– Your breed, Vasily Petrovich!

– And then whose is mine.

– Well, now we will go hunting together, we will have to buy a gun, eh? – Uncle Vanya winked at me. – What do you say, Petrovich?

“Well, without a shotgun it’s quite difficult to go hunting, except with a slingshot.” What do you think, do you pick a duck from a slingshot? – grandfather looked at me with sly.

– Of course! I know pigeons how to beat?

– Wow, a notable hunter: with a slingshot on the ute. Tell me again, will you hit the ground?

– I can fly in – today nothing could embarrass me.

– Similarly, your breed – Uncle Vanya laughed. – The same hero.

So, while teasing me and each other, my grandfather and his uncle Vanya quickly gutted the ducks and tidied them up in the trunk. Soon Shulum ripened. I ate it, burning, and was the happiest in the world! Then I made sure that the most delicious teal shulum. That time I brought home three ducks taken by me at the evening dawn. Instead of flowers, I brought Granny a bouquet of multi-colored foliage, and you should see her eyes …

Since then, I have often been on duck hunting, I also hunted geese, but teals have remained the most valuable prey for me.

Photos from the network

Amanda K. Benson

Author: Amanda K. Benson

Hi, my name is Amanda K. Benson. Since you, dear reader, have appeared on the page of my blog, it means that you are interested in something. Then you need to know who is writing these articles for you. We will meet and I will tell you a little about myself.

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