Summer in Siberia long. Snow melts in May and the cold returns in September. He turns the frozen taiga still life, leading to thrill its cold desolation and endless miles of prickly pine and birch forests of soft where sleeping bears and wolves roam the hungry, where there are mountains with steep slopes, where the rivers of clear water streams flowing through the valleys, where hundreds thousands of frozen marshes. This forest – the last and most majestic in the wild on our planet.
It extends from the extreme northern regions of the Russian Arctic south to Mongolia itself, and from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean. Five million square miles with a population of only a few thousand people, except a few of the city.
But when it comes warm days, taiga blooms, and within a few short months, it can seem almost inviting. And then people can look into this hidden world – but not from the ground, for the taiga can swallow whole armies of travelers, and from the air. In Siberia, there is a large part of Russian oil and minerals, and over the years, even the most remote corners of her circled Prospector and prospectors in search of minerals, to then return to their camp in the woods, where there is a work in their production.
So it was in 1978 in a remote forest edge in the south. In search of a safe place for landing party was sent geologists helicopter. He boldly flew over forests around a couple of hundred kilometers from the Mongolian border, until he came to the densely forested valley, where leaking unnamed tributary of Abakan is a silvery ribbon of water coursing through unsafe areas. The valley was narrow, like a valley and the slopes of the mountains at times stretched almost vertically. Thin pine and birch, bend from the downstream air helicopter rotor blades, grew so thick that put the car there was no way. Suddenly, staring through the windshield into the forest in search of a place to land, the pilot saw something that it could not be. On the mountain at an altitude of about 1800 meters seemed cleared land, separating pine and larch, and plowed long and dark furrows. Puzzled helicopter repeatedly flew over the meadow, and then reluctantly admitted that it traces of human habitation – the garden, which, judging by the size and shape of the site, is there a long time.
It was an amazing find. The mountain is 250 kilometers from the nearest settlement in a place that no one has ever explored. The Soviet authorities did not have any records of people living in the area.
The pilots told about what they saw four scientists who had been assigned to the area in search of iron ore. Scientists puzzled and disturbed it. "It's not dangerous – wrote about this part of the taiga writer Vasily Peskov, – to meet a wild animal as a stranger." Instead of waiting to live in their temporary camp, 16 kilometers from the site found, the scientists decided to go to investigate. Led by a geologist named Galina Pismenskaya they picked a fine day and "put in a backpack goodies possible friends." But just in case, she said, "I checked the gun hanging on my side."
When uninvited guests began to climb up the slope toward the pilots specified place, they began to discover the traces of human activity: a bumpy path, stick a log across the creek, and finally, a small storage shed filled with birch bark boxes in which to store dried sliced potatoes. Pismenskaya says:
And home near the creek. Blackened by time and rain hut on all sides was arranged some taiga trash korem, poles, tesinami. If not for the size of a window pocket of my backpack, it was hard to believe that people live here. But they certainly lived here – next to the hut was green manicured garden … Our parish was, apparently, noticed.
Low door creaked. And the light of day, as in a fairy tale, a figure very old man. Barefoot. On the body-patched shirt perelatanaya burlap. From it the same – pants, and also patched, unkempt beard. Tousled hair. Scared, a very close look. And indecision … We had to say something. I said:
– Hi, Grandpa! We have to visit you …
The old man did not answer right away … Finally we heard the soft hesitant voice:
– Well, come in, come if …
The sight brought before the eyes of geologists, when they entered the hut, it was a picture of the Middle Ages. Hut, jerry-built of all that turned up under the arm, was more like a hole – "low, blackened wooden shack, which was cold as a cellar." Floor consisted of potato skins and cedar. Looking around in the darkness, the guests saw that the room was only one. It was cramped, musty and unbearably dirty. The roof sags propped beam. Amazingly, there was a family of five.
Again, there was a painful silence which suddenly erupted sobbing, wailing. And only then we saw the silhouettes of two women. One fought in hysterics and prayed: "This is our sins, for the sins …" The other, holding the post … slowly settled to the floor. The light from the small window fell on her extended, mortally frightened eyes, and we realized: we need to get out more.
Scientists led by Pismenskaya hurriedly left the hut and walked away. There they laid provisions and began to eat. After about half an hour the door creaked, and out of the house came three figures – the old man and his two daughters. Trace of hysteria was gone – only fear and "open curiosity." Three strange figures cautiously approached the guests and sat down nearby, giving up all that they tried to treat – butter, tea and bread. They confirmed one thing: "We are not allowed!" Pismenskaya When asked if they had ever eaten bread, old man replied, "I have something eaten. And they did not. Did not even see. " At least, his talk was understandable. But the daughter spoke in a language that has been distorted by long years of solitude. "When the sisters talked to each other, the sound of their voices resembled slow, muffled coo."
Gradually, after several visits managed to learn the history of the family as a whole. The old man called Karp Lykov, and he was Old Believers – a member of a fundamentalist sect of Russian Orthodoxy, which adheres to the customs and rituals that have remained unchanged since the 17th century. Old Believers persecuted since the time of Peter I, and Lykov talked about it as if it happened yesterday. For him, Peter was a personal enemy and "Antichrist in human form." He argued that it is under a strong evidence for the king in his attempts to modernize Russia "was cutting beards Christians." But in the age old hatred imposed more recent discontent: Carp immediately began to complain of a merchant, which is somewhere in the early 20 th century conservatives refused to give 26 pounds of potatoes.
Things got worse for the family Lykov, when the Bolsheviks came to power, atheists. Under Soviet rule isolated communities of Old Believers who had fled to Siberia from persecution, began to go farther and farther from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, when subjected to attack Christianity itself, the Communists of watch murdered by Lykov at the edge of the village, when Karp worked with him. He took his family and fled to the forest.
That was in 1936, and Lykov at the time was only four – Karp, his wife Akulina, Savin son 9 years old and daughter Natalia, who was only two years old. Taking with them their belongings and some of the seeds, they went to the taiga wilderness, where they built a few rough huts, until it finally settled into a desert place. This often came to light two more children – Dmitry in 1940 and Agafya in 1943. Younger children Lykovy of people knew only the members of his family. All that Agafya Dmitri knew about the outside world, they told their parents. The main entertainment of the family, says Russian journalist Vasily Peskov, a retelling of dreams.
Lykov children know that there are places that are called cities, where people live in close quarters in high buildings. They have heard that there are other countries, except Russia. But for them, these notions were no more than an abstraction. The only thing that they read this prayer books and old family Bible. Akulina taught children to read and write the gospel, using as a pen and ink a sharpened stick and juice of honeysuckle. When Agafea showed the horse, she learned it from the Bible stories read mother. "Look, Daddy, a horse" – she said.
If you understand and feel the privacy of the family is hard, you realize how hard and severe was their life much easier. To get to the homestead (settlement, usually odnodvornoe and land – approx. Ed.) Lykovy foot was incredibly hard, even if the sail boat from Abakan. Sands, appointed himself the chief chronicler of the family, said that during his first visit to Lykov, they drove 250 miles without ever having seen human habitation.
Because of privacy survive in this wilderness was almost impossible. Relying solely on their own resources, Lykov tried to somehow find a replacement for the few objects of civilization, which they brought with them into the forest. They were doing something like galoshes from birch and wore them instead of shoes. The clothes were all patched, wore it until it decays. Then change to the other – from hemp burlap.
Lykovs brought into the forest primitive spinning wheel, and, incredibly, the details of the loom. They pulled all of these things with you when you moved from place to place, going farther into the taiga wilderness. It must have been a heavy wanderings. But anything on the replacement of the metal they did not have. Two teapots faithfully served them for many years, but when they finally ate the rust, the only material to replace them would be elm. Put on the fire can not bark, so cooking has become more difficult. By the time the geologists found Lykov, their main course was potato cakes with rye flour and seeds of the hemp plant.
In some ways, says Sands, taiga gave some abundance. "Close to home – cold clean creek. Larch, spruce, pine and birch stands gives people everything they were able to get here. Beast does not frighten anyone. Blueberry and Malinniki – near, wood – next door, pine cones fall right on the roof of housing. "
However Lykovs always lived on the edge of starvation. It was only in the late 1950s, when Dmitry matured, they first began to catch animals that gave them meat and skins. Since Lykov was guns and even a bow and arrows, they could hunt, only digging trapping or pursuing prey on the mountains, until the animal fell from exhaustion. Dmitri was amazingly tough, and could hunt in the winter barefoot, sometimes absent for several days, and returning home to forty-degree frost with a young moose on the shoulders. But more often live without meat, and in time their diet became more uniform. Wild animals are slaughtered harvest carrots, and the end of the 1950s Agafea recalled as "lean years." "We were eating bark and birch buds" – told Agafia.
Grass, roots, mushrooms, sprouts of potatoes, the bark. All the time we were starving. Every year a council – to eat everything up or leave something for seed.
Famine in such circumstances was enduring danger, and in 1961 it snowed in June. Severe frost destroyed everything that grew in the garden, and in the spring the family was forced to eat bark and leather footwear. Akulina gave all his food to children, and in that year she died of starvation. Rest of the family was rescued, that they found a miracle: a random seed rye, peas, sprouted in the plot. The only spike was surrounded Lykovs special fence and jealously guarded it day and night, driving away the mice and squirrels. Ripe spike gave eighteen grains. And out of these grains, they started to stockpile hard seeds.
When Soviet geologists acquainted with the family Lykov and know them better, they realized they had underestimated the ability of the mind hermits. Each family member has a bright personality. Old Carp rejoiced all the latest news, which geologists have brought with them from the camp. He stubbornly refused to believe that a man visited the Moon, but quickly got used to the idea of flying in orbit satellites. Lykovs saw them back in 1950, when the "stars were soon on the sky walk." And he came up with Karp whole theory to explain this phenomenon: "People thought up something and let the lights, the stars like Velma."
"But most of all he was struck by a transparent polyethylene bag – says Sands. – "Lord, what thought up – glass and crumpled" – said Karp, the first time he saw him. " In addition, Karp firmly held on to its status as head of the family, although the court was 1980. Savin in response to trying to be a sort of inexorable arbiter in matters of faith. "Savin was strong on faith, but a cruel man," – said of him by his own father. It looks like Carp worried what would happen to his family after his death, when Savin prevail. Certainly, the eldest son of least resistance would have greeted by Natalie, who always sought to replace his mother as a cook, seamstress and nurse.
On the other hand, the younger children were more likely to meet people who are open to change and innovation. "Fanaticism in Agafea not very noticeable," – wrote Sands. By the time he realized that the youngest daughter of the Lykov has a sense of humor and irony, is able to make a joke on himself. Unusual speech Agafea – her monotonous voice, and simple words it stretches into syllables – persuaded some of her guests that she was feeble-minded woman. However, in reality Agafea very smart, and in a family where no calendars, she took on the challenge – keep track of time. Hard work, it also is not terrible. Late autumn dug new cellar, working even in the moonlight after sunset. When startled Sands asked the woman not afraid if she was alone in the woods in the dark, she said: "What a terrible, that I hurt here?"
But of all the main Lykovy favorite among geologists was Dmitri, an excellent hunter and fisherman, who knew in detail the ins and outs of the taiga. He was the most curious and, perhaps, the most advanced member of the family. That he put the stove in the house and did all bark baskets for storing provisions. Dmitry all day can manually cut and plane logs from felled trees Lykov. It is not surprising that it literally charmed gadgets geologists. When the relationship has adjusted so that the Lykov was persuaded to come back to the camp, he spent many happy hours in a small sawmill, amazed at the ease with which a circular saw to saw logs and makes the board. "Logs that Dmitry canvases a day or two, then the eyes into a beautiful flat board. Dmitry touch board with his hand and said, "Good! .." "
Karp Lykov led a long struggle with myself to keep from all of this today in the distance. When they first met with geologists family took from them only one gift – salt. (Having lived without it for forty years, Karp said that it was "true anguish"). But over time, they began to take more and more gifts. They were happy to help closest friend among geologists – driller named Erofei Sedov, who in his spare time helping them planting a vegetable garden and harvest. They took knives, forks, handle grain. And over time, even took pen and paper and a flashlight. Most of these new products they acknowledged grudgingly, not sinful TV, which they saw in the camp of the geologists,
… He was giving rise to them irresistible. Occasionally appearing in town, be sure to sit down and watch. Karp Osipovich sits right in front of the screen. Agafya looks, sticking his head out of the door. It seeks to atone for sins once – poshepchet, baptize and again puts out his head. The old man prays after diligently and for all time.
Perhaps the saddest thing in the strange story of the Lykov was how quickly after initial contact with the outside world the family declined. The fall of 1981, three of the four children died one after another took to the churchyard after the mother. According to Sands, their death is not related to diseases that have Lykov had no immunity, although this is exactly what you would expect. Savin and Natalia suffered from kidney failure, which most likely was the result of a rough diet. But Dmitry died of pneumonia, which could arise from infection, have taken up their new friends.
His death shocked the geologists who struggled to save the man. They offered a helicopter and taken to a hospital. But Dmitry being in critical condition, did not want to leave his family and give up religion, which he professed life. "We are not allowed, – he whispered before he died. – How God willing, so that I may live. "
When three of the Lykov buried, geologists tried to persuade Karp and Agafya leave the taiga and return to relatives who survived persecution during the purges and were still living in their old villages. But survivors Lykovs even think about it would not. They have renovated their old hut, and remained in his former home.
Karp Lykov died in his sleep Feb. 16, 1988 – after exactly twenty-seven years after the death of his wife Akulina. Agafya by geologists buried him on a hillside, then turned and headed for home. With God's help live, she said – and stayed. And he still lives. It has been a quarter-century, this seventy-year-daughter of the taiga and acquired alone on high steeper over Abakan.
It will not go away. But we must leave it, looking at the woman in the eyes Yerofei the funeral of her father:
I turned around to wave Agafea hand. Stands at the precipice of the river like a stone. Cries. She nodded, "Go, go." Gone a mile, looked around – worth … "
Original publication: For 40 Years, This Russian Family