Vladimir Vysotsky. The Nature Reserve.

A Song about the Mongooses.

“Down with snakes! They’re indeed right and left there!”—
The poor people gave a desperate cry.
And they called the mongooses to help them,
“Our small brothers, these snakes have to die!”

And they instantly got into gear,
Thinking not of their feelings at all.
The mongooses didn’t want even to hear
Of vacations till reaching the goal.

And the people sent them to all directions,
Having ordered patrols and convoys,
That the harmless snakes should be neglected,
And the poisonous ones should be destroyed.

Are you ready? The helpers were downed,
There were set for them springes by the people,
Who declared, “They’ve brought us into trouble,
These mongooses are mischievous fiends.”

And next morning the people there appeared,
For to take the poor things from the springes,
Which opposed and asked not to wring them,
Shrieking that they were true and didn’t cheat.

Yet they all in the mat-bags were thrown,
Badly wounded, without a debate,
Dizzied from the great grievance and throes,
And, of course, from the turn of their fate.

They were guessing why extermination
Is their fee, what’s unright in their gest?
And they got the complete explanation
From an old one, who quietly said,

“Once in India, goats ate all cabbage,
And Chinese sparrows swallowed all rice,
But the killers of snakes are most savage,
Cause these snakes are so useful and nice.

“So we’re now receiving our bonus,
Due to our dedication we’ll die.
These prudent people need the snakes to be poisonous,
Thinking that but with poison they’ll survive.”

“Down with snakes! They’re again right and left there!”—
The poor people gave a desperate cry.
And they called the mongooses to help them,
“Our small brothers, these snakes have to die!..”

1971.

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