Autumn walks through the woods, hangs crystal nets of cobwebs over bushes and grasses, cleans aspen and birch trees in gold. The first fallen leaves began to bloom on wet roads, on the quiet, darkened waters of the river bays.
For a long time, the voiced Oriole has left its native grove. Swallows followed her. Their deep holes darken in the empty coastal cliff.
And yesterday, a pair of merchants descended on a deaf forest reach beyond the village of Gutorovo – flying visitors from the far north. The next day, when I came to this pool again, the little ones did not fly away. The weather did not hurry them to the south.
My neighborhood did not bother them at all. It seems that they had few meetings with a man. Not like our wild duck. Rarely for some of them did not shoot a gun.
And suddenly, very close by the bushes: “Fuck, women. “Across the river ran two foam streams, one after the other.
The little merchant that floated first flashed white lining the wings, hastily appeared and flew over the river. The second did not even flinch. For some reason, he dipped his head into the water and so swam downstream.
In the coastal rush, the water began to blurt. A lop-eared head of a spaniel appeared with a white streak on its forehead. The dog stopped for a moment, led by its nose and entered the river. She was swimming fast and easy, almost half out of the water.
Soon the spaniel was already at the place where a couple of merchants had just walked. But he did not turn for the bird to be demolished, but, without changing directions, he slapped further.
– Chang, go back! – I heard a calm, even gentle voice.
Chang shook his long shaggy ears, stopped, turning his nose, and turned sharply to the left. Having caught up with the bird, the spaniel grabbed its wing and, still carrying its head high above the water, swam back. The course blew it a bit. He climbed onto the shore next to my fishing rods, put the bird on the sand and began to shake off, pouring me with a rain of cold spray.
– That is ignorant! Stop doing that!
A dog’s owner came out of the bushes, heavy, chubby, with a hedgehog of a gray mustache, he was dressed in a short quilted padded jacket, with high waders on his feet.
– Splashed? – He said, picking up the bird.
– Nothing! – wiping my face with a handkerchief, I answered. – Good booty! Rare
“And I, you know, do not particularly respect the krokhalya,” objected the hunter. He lifted the bird by the neck, looking at the wound on his head.
I took the opportunity to consider the merry man. He is in a black frock coat, white shirt. The green-black head ended in a sharp spear-like beak. He was a good size with a good mallard, only longer and narrower than hers.
– The bird looks okay. But the meat is tasteless, gives fish, – explained the hunter, sitting down and groaning tiredly. The dog lay down next to it. “We run over with you, Chang. Come on, buddy, sit down and rest.
Chang waved the stump of his tail approvingly.
– Newbie, I guess? – I nodded at the dog. – Studying?
– Already, one might say, an old man. Fifth year Golden dog.— The host gently ran his hand over the black, silky vest of a spaniel. “Without it, you will lose half the booty. A broken duck will fall into the swamp itself – how will you get it? Lick your lips and go away for nothing. Or take a wounded animal. In such a wilderness clogged that day with fire you will not find. And Chang will quickly work out his business: both the wounded woman will grab and the battered from the swamps will endure. You seem to bite. Look at the one where the cork float.
I hooked. Forests stretched. Deep in the depths, the flank of the fish flashed. Then the woods suddenly sagged, and I pulled out an empty hook.
“It’s off,” the hunter clicked sympathetically with his tongue. “It’s a pity.” You, therefore, also have a hunt. And I’m more with a gun. I love to walk. Why, at least take today’s case. Would kohalya flow over, stuck somewhere in the bushes. And Chang, please, slazit and got.
– Why did he not want to take the bird at first? – I asked.
– He wanted to want something, but he got off track. This happens.
– What do you mean! – I was surprised. – What could be the mark on the water? Yes, and why the trail, when the bird and so see?
– Eh, my dear! Why, if Chang had eyes. He is blind to me.
– Blind. “I even turned around in amazement.” “Completely blind?” Do not you say.
I looked intently and incredulously at Chang. He lay with his face resting on shaggy white paws in black specks. There was nothing strange in his eyes. Light brown, attentive, intelligent eyes of an experienced hunting dog.
– Do not believe? The master smiled. “Let me demonstrate.” He took out a slice of bread from the game bag, pinched off a piece of it. The spaniel perked up, animatedly moving its wet, rubbery nose, and stared at the bread.
– Chang, catch it! The owner shouted and threw a crust of bread high up.
But Chang did not start, did not jump, as dogs usually do at the sight of a flying handout, he stood quietly, looking inquiringly at the owner. And only when the crust fell about five feet away from him, he shook his hairy ears and ran to the sound of fallen bread.
– Have you seen? – asked the hunter, throwing the whole hunk to the dog. – The bread is already flying, but he is unaware of it, waiting for me to give up.
This simple experience almost convinced me. But the whole behavior of the dog remained incomprehensible. Prior to that, she behaved in exactly the same way as usual, sighted, without showing her blindness.
“Did you just notice that Chiang missed while swimming behind a dead bird?”
– Yes, I noticed. Only took it for the pampering of a novice.
– Not. It is he who got off track. For a moment the thread of bird smell broke, which led Chang to prey. But Chang is good! Quickly found.
Spaniel gratefully struck the tail stump in the sand, I realized that he was praised. Or maybe he smelled affection in his host’s good voice. I respectfully looked at Chang.
– Well, how is he blind?
“I don’t know myself,” the owner shook his head. “Perhaps he was born that way.” How do you know that he is blind? You still can not agree with this. After all, he does not look like a blind man. About nothing stumbles, with dogs, like everyone else, runs, plays. Run away from me – whistle, and he straight back rushes. And the game does not miss. Not a single duck is lost. And most importantly – the eyes are so intelligent, understanding! Do you think these eyes see absolutely nothing? I myself found out about his blindness by chance, throwing bread at him in the same way. At first he did not believe, and then, over time, he became convinced.
I again bite. This time, I safely pulled out a large roach. Taking it off the hook, I inadvertently asked:
“Would you rather have another dog?”
– Where is this? – hunter frowned. – Shoot? Pass on the collar? Yes, I, my dear, will not take two sighted for him. After all, five years together. He earns his bread honestly. Difficult bread, but honest. Come on, Chang. Be healthy!
The hunter threw a game bag on his shoulder, and a two-shotgun and walked straight into the thicket of the forest. Chung cheerfully jumped up and ran for the owner. He confidently wade through the thickets, snatching his face into the vine and squealing with impatience.
I watched him for a long time and now did not spare the dead bird.