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Old 07-31-2007, 06:33 PM   #15
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"At any rate, remove the kitten and the saucer, please," said Kuzmin as he accompanied Xenia Nikitishna to he door.

As he hung up his coverall the doctor hear laughter from the courtyard. He looked around and hurreid over to the window. A woman, wearing nothing but a shirt, was running across the courtyard to the house opposite. The doctor knew her -- she was called Marya Alexandrovna. A boy was laughing at her.

"Really, what behavior," said Kuzmin, contemptuously.

Just then the sound of a phonograph playing a fox trot came from his daughter's room, and at the same moment the doctor heard the chirp of a sparrow behind his back...As he looked at it closely, the professor at once realized that it was no ordinary sparrow. The revolting bird was resting its weight on its left leg, making faces and waving its other leg in syncopation -- in short, it was dancing a fox trot in time to the phonograph, cavorting like a drunk around a lamp post and staring insolently at the doctor.

Kuzmin's hand was on the telephone, and he was just about to ring up his old college friend Burye and ask him what it meant to start seeing sparrows at sixty, especially if they made your head spin.

Meanwhile the sparrow had perched on his presentation inkstand, fouled it, then flew up, hung in the air, and dived with shattering force at a photograph shwing the whole class of '94 on graduation day, smashing the glass to smithereens. The bird then wheeled smartly and flew out of the window.

The doctor changed his mind and instead of ringing up Burye dialed the number of the Leech Bureau and asked them to send a leech to his house at once. Replacing the receiver, the doctor turned back to his desk and let out a wail. On the far side of the desk sat a woman in a nurse's uniform with a bag marked "Leeches." The sight of her mouth made the doctor groan again -- it was a wide, crooked man's mouth with a fang sticking out of it. The nurse's eyes seemed completely dead.

"I'll take the money," said the nurse, "it's no good to you now." She grasped the labels with a birdlike claw and began to melt into the air.
Now everyone prepared to depart. The water sprites ended their dance and vanished. The goat-man politely asked how she had arrived at the river, and on hearing that she had ridden there on a broom he cried, "Oh, how uncomfortable!" In a moment he had twisted two branches into the shape of a telephone and ordered someone to send a car at once, which was done in a trice.

A brown open-topped car flew down to the island. Instead of a driver, the chauffeur's seat was occupied by a black, long-beaked crow in a check cap and gauntlets. The island emptied as the witches flew away in the moonlight, the fire burned out, and the glowing embers turned to gray ash.

The goat-man opened the door for Margarita, who sprawled on the car's wide back seat. The car gave a roar, took off, and climbed almost to the moon. The island fell away, the river disappeared, and Margarita was on her way to Moscow.

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (trans. Michael Glenny)
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