During my visit to Russia, I met an old Russian man from Lake Baikal, Stepan, in Moscow, and he invited me to his house. After taking my seat, when I looked up, I saw a large specially made glass case, which took up a lot of space, aroused my curiosity, so I got up and took a closer look. It turned out to be stuffed birds: two swans hugging each other. Seeing my puzzled eyes, the owner said affectionately: "This is a love story."
"Yes, it was 30 years ago. That winter, when I was hunting hares with a shotgun on my back, I came to a reed pond unknowingly. Suddenly I saw a huge swan hovering and chirping over the reed pond, and by the nearby pond, another swan was echoing." The old man made a special explanation here: the flying one was about 1.5 meters long, it was a male swan, and the one by the pond was smaller, a female swan.
"At that time, I felt strange that in such cold weather, the swans had already flown south, why didn't these two go? I walked forward more than ten steps, and I saw the swans by the pond flapping their wings, struggling to chirp, and their long necks stretched out to the sky, but they couldn't fly. 'Probably injured!' I thought. At this moment, I stood quietly, listening to the conversation between the sky and the earth. The sky called from time to time, as if to say: 'Winter is here, it's time to go! Let's go!' The underground seemed to be answering: 'I can't fly, you go, leave me alone!' But the one in the sky just didn't want to leave. Seeing this scene, I thought, it is better to take the injured swan home and let it recover from the injury. So I walked forward step by step. The injured swan cried out in panic when he saw someone coming. Just as I reached out to pick up the injured swan, suddenly a huge black shadow flashed in front of my eyes, and with a heavy blow, I stumbled and nearly fell. It turned out that this was the male swan. In a hurry to save his significant other, he fell from the sky and hit me with his wings. Although I had no malice, the male swan was still hovering above my head, so I had no choice but to sigh, touch my hot cheek, and retreat step by step. Kindness was beaten instead, and I was not angry, I just said to the sky: 'Good job!'
"When I got home, I always thought about these two swans. But after several days of blizzards, I couldn't go out. The blizzard finally stopped, and the temperature dropped to minus 40 degrees Celsius. I braved the severe cold to come to the edge of the reed pond. There was snow everywhere, the water was completely frozen, and there was no life to be heard or seen except for the whirring wind. My heart was cold, and I went straight to the habitat of the injured swans... ah, seeing them, hope rose in my heart. But when I got closer, I was stunned: the two swans were frozen. They hugged tightly, the male swan protected the injured female swan with his wings, shielding it from the wind and snow, and their long necks, snuggling against each other, intertwined, like their inseparable fate... With a glimmer of hope, I carefully carried the two swans home, massaged them, drugged them, and tried everything, but they never woke up. Feeling the true feelings of these two swans, I made them into specimens and kept them as a permanent memorial. The two swans were killed by the severe cold, they were unfortunate; but they hugged each other and slept together forever, and they were happy again... "
After listening to the old man's story, I stared at the two swans in the cabinet for a long time, my eyes gradually blurred, and in the white fog, I vaguely saw the two swans awake and resurrected. They echoed their wings, flew into the blue sky, flew farther and farther, and finally became two small black spots and disappeared into the sky...
The sound of old man Stepan's cough woke me up from my reverie, and I nodded embarrassedly to the old man. Seeing that I was so invested and emotional in his story, he became more interested, so he told the story of the second swan.
"This was also a long time ago, and it happened in the swamp on the shore of Lake Baikal. This year, spring came earlier than usual. The snow and ice began to melt, and the weather gradually warmed. Some migratory birds flew in from the south one after another. However, no one expected that the cold wave suddenly came, the north wind howled, and the lake was frozen again. Some migratory birds that had just arrived had to fly away to find a warm place. I carried a shotgun to shoot wild ducks and wandered around the lake for a long time, but I found nothing. I was very disappointed. Suddenly, a crisp cry came from a distance: 'Clu - Cli...' I looked up and saw a large flock of swans. They moved like a big white cloud over the yellow reed beach. I wondered, almost all the migratory birds had left again, why did these swans stay, didn't they have to freeze and starve?
"At this time, the swan group happened to land not far from me. I stared, trying to see what happened. I saw the swans walking on the ice, calling to each other, gathering together. They might talk: How strong is the ice this spring? How long will the cold snap of this late spring last? What should I do if the lake is frozen and there is nothing to eat...
"Suddenly, an oversized old swan rose into the air, but it did not fly away, but used the momentum of its fall to hit its chest and wings hard on the ice like a stone. After a heavy blow, the mirror-like ice surface was shaken and trembled. Then a second blow, a third time... You see, it stared at a place and pounced again and again, so serious and tenacious.
"At this time, the other swans were startled by the action. They stood there blankly, looking at the'icebreaker '. They could only hear - click - a small crack in the ice, and then a second crack appeared... The ice finally collapsed, amber water droplets appeared, and a small ice hole appeared. The tenacious'icebreaker' continued to pounce along the edge of the ice hole, and the water surface was slowly expanding. One swan came to help, then a second, a third... Soon the entire flock of swans, about a hundred or so, were engaged in icebreaking work. They worked so together, so cheerfully! The water was expanding rapidly. From time to time, there were bursts of cries of'Clu-Cli-Cli 'on the lake, like the exciting labor horn:' Brothers, come on! Come on, come on! "
"The small ice hole finally turned into a large piece of water. As if hearing someone's order, all the swans finished their work at the same time. With their heads raised and their chests held out, they swam in the water, preying on fish and shrimp, and cheering victoriously from time to time: 'Clu - Cli! Clu - Cli!'"
At this point, the old man Stepan stopped, took a sip of tea, and said affectionately, "What lovely birds! I was only thirty or forty meters away from them, and I held a shotgun with shotguns in my hands, but I hung the shotgun on my shoulders and quietly left the lake shore. Since then, the shotgun has been hanging on the wall and has never been moved again. Birds and beasts, like humans, have their own lives..."
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