At last the mob of robbers had fallen trapped at the end of the Dobreni forest. For two years, a few strong men, coals with coals on their eyes, very bold and very cruel, had frightened three borders. They had started with the horse thief first; then an ironing, two with cauldrons; then murders. Among other things, they had recently paid a visit to Popa Iancu from Podeni.
The pope was a man with a helping hand; widowed, though very young, he lived with his mother. His business was going very well. For a year and a half he had bought two strings of the estate, built an inn, and a pair of stone houses; many cattle, sheep, five horses, and more, it is said, and money. These were obvious, everyone thought the pope had found some treasure. In this state, of course, the eyes of the robbers must be stopped.
One evening Father Iancu made a fool of himself to stay home alone: he sent the old woman in a carriage to the fair with a boy; he drove one of them into the field, and two others, with chariots, into the woods. After midnight, here are the black guests: they tied him up, tortured him and took a lot of money from him. The old woman’s luck was missing; maybe she made the mistake of screaming, and the robbers killed her, as happened elsewhere with a grandmother in a few days.
Surprisingly, one thing – the pope has a wonderful saw and two mares: they didn’t take them. But-46-something even more curious – the dogs in the yard, some beasts like beasts, had not even given a sign of life! Thieves have all kinds of crafts to put the wildest dogs to sleep; he probably gives them a kind of enchanted dish, or who knows what.
The priest was found the next day at last tied to a log, with his muscles cut by the tightness of the ropes, with a gag in his mouth, barely able to moan. They quickly untied him and the poor man told, panting with his mind lost in horror, everything he had suffered.
Less than two weeks passed, and another trampling was heard — that, indeed, frightening.
The tenant from Dărmănești has been trampled since the evening. The man lived there with an old relative, a grandmother, who took care of their house. Baba made the fool scream, and the tenant fired even more foolishly with the revolver. That’s all they needed! They tortured them, sawed them until they were ready. It is not known how much they had robbed, of course it had been a significant sum – the tenant had recently sold a large amount of food.
But in the end this iniquity had been the last. People married in black fell into the chains of justice last night, just as they were embarking on a new feat. The news had spread in an instant like a soothing light over the haunted borders.
Towards evening, Pope Iancu returned home on horseback. Both the horse and the man were crushed by the walk. For three days the pope had been running after the merchants, – he was selling cattle and buying pigs. Wherever he went, he found nothing about catching robbers. His mother was waiting for him at the table; the son had no appetite; He was about to go to his niece Stavrache, the innkeeper, his older brother.
The innkeeper was very pleased: a man with a helping hand, with an inn on the way – great weight had been taken from his soul. How many nights had he not slept for a moment, at least as it should,-47-listening and waiting with a broken heart on the night guests! it must have been his turn again and again.
The priest entered the tavern just as Mr. Stavrache was preparing to close it.
“Neica,” he said, looking strange and frightened everywhere, “I’d like you to say something right away.”
– What the?
– You will see. Shut up and help us both in the room… I came to you like a clergyman…
According to the young man’s air and tone, the older brother does not know what to create; yet he understood that the priest had serious things to say. He sent the servants and the woman to bed, closed the shutters of the shop and the gate of the inn, and, after everyone had calmed down, entered the room where the priest was waiting, smoking tobacco and sighing heavily.
– What is it, me?
– I came to you like a clergyman… Doesn’t anyone hear?
– I would! who is heard
“Neica Stavrache,” said the drowned priest, “I’m damned!”
The pope began to cry with a fist and to punch himself in the head. Neica Stavrache did not understand at all.
– What should I do?… What should I do, niece?… You say, that you are my older brother…
What does the priest have in mind? What to have? Hard thing to understand, of course; so hard that Mr. Stavrache, at first, did not even want to create.
How could it be? The man with weight, the owner with so many attachments and content, richer than many people around him! – His brother! the priest – to have been the head of the band of robbers! And yet it was true. The devil had pushed him! And the bastard recounted all his exploits. The trampling on him had been a marvel to-48-sleep the suspicions. A few days before, a village notary – he was a bit drunk – an old enemy of the pope, meeting him at an inn on the road, said to him: «You have a good bus, father! this is no longer a pope’s horse, it is an outlaw horse, to leave all powers behind! » and then: «You’re fine, parents! buy another piece of land! How can you not be afraid of being robbed by thieves! You’re probably trained! ”
Neica Stavrache finally listens to the story of the last deed from the tenant of the Dărmăneşti family… But the priest had not killed him; he had fought as hard as he could to stop them from such a cruel act; but what was to be done to them? they were stubborn: the grandmother screamed and the tenant fired his gun – it was no longer possible to control the boys.
The pope had escaped from the race at the end of the forest only by chance: the potters also seized him… But all the citizens are trapped… They will put them in jail… they will say everything… everything… They will also seize him. And the priest, seized by the earthquake, tore his hair from his head.
“What is to be done, niece Stavrache?” get rid of me!
– How? ”“ Fuck! to run! to skin! to drown better than to get your hands on yourself! Your bones are rotting in the bottom of your mouth.
As Mr. Stavrache spoke, loud noises, shouts, and loud knocks were heard in the shutters of the shop. They both stand still.
– Don’t open! says the pope, pulling a revolver from under his forehead.
But the bangs are thick, – there are many people outside. Mr. Stavrache, without listening to the perseverance of the pope, who trembles like a rope, pushes him as far as he can and goes to the shop. Listening well, the innkeeper understands that he is dealing with a happy world: a crowd of criminals is much more serious and silent; don’t laugh either -49-it does not close so cheerfully at midnight. And Mr. Stavrache guessed right. Shouting, “Immediately!” turn on the lamp and go to open it.
In fact, there are about twenty young volunteers, huddled across the pile, in a few carriages, led by an officer and two reservist sergeants, to the Danube – at war. I stop here for two or three hours, so that the horses can rest; about the day they will start; you have to start the military train that passes in the morning to the nearest station – a track of about forty kilometers. They’re good guys, handsome guys, and they sing, and they laugh, and they’re all kinds of crazy people.
Mr. Stavrache is doing all he can to indebt the brave young men. After drinking well, they lay down next to each other, crammed into the two larger rooms of the inn. Very tired, the carefree young people sleep soundly. The innkeeper, gloomy, thought for a few minutes; but suddenly his face lit up: a great inspiration sparkled inside his forehead. The man quickly walks into the room where the dog is waiting for him so eagerly.
What the two brothers said to each other cannot be said, they whispered so slowly and discreetly. It’s enough to show just what they did. Priest Iancu sat down in the chair in the middle of the room. Mr. Stavrache took a pair of scissors and began to cut his locks; then shorter and shorter, where better, where more with stairs, when he cuts his skin, he bites. Then he cut his beard short, soaped it well and finally shaved it with a blanket. All this very quickly.