We go along the forest footpath, passing a lodge reminding a car. Some people are coming towards us. They are cheerfully smiling and tell to us friendly: "Hello! Anatoly Vasilyevich is there". And showing the way. It is pleasant when strangers greet you, but a little unusual. Probably, Anatoly Vasilyevich is the Forest-man. It is interesting how he looks like.
Suddenly a very unusual person came towards us. And again this affectionate word came to the mind, but you won't call this person differently, except - strange, this person is athletically build, in a self-woven toga. A big beard with streaks of gray, wide and very dense, blew my mind. On the forehead a band weaved from a rope, on his legs are felt boots though there is a heat of summer and in the forest is quite warm despite evening. It seemed to me that I met a Slavic God Velez.
He looked under the dense eyebrows. The look is testing and strict at the same time, as though he dissatisfied with something; caustic, and slightly farther, in the depth, ironic and even cunning. There was a feeling that you are pierced to the heels. Besides the eyes, I got affected by the sizes of his large nose. He greeted, his voice - toneless and deep. "Yes... this Forest-man feels people too well and at once sees all their merits and demerits. He is not the Forest-man, but an incarnated Velez."
It made me feel somehow awkward. And suddenly... as in the childhood, when we read tales of mermaids and Forest-man, there was a condition of fright and... I believed that he is a real Forest-man and Velez, and we got to a genuine fairy tale.
"Well, that could be some particular illness develops, called - lapse into childhood. Or perhaps the head overheated, in Moscow is hot as in Africa" — thoughts flashed, and there was a wish to leave as soon as possible this Forest-man. He, probably read this thoughts and leaving us, told: "Do come, all are there".
After someone told that people call him Anatoly Vasilyevich, and behind his back nicknamed - Forest-man, Berendey and Dobrynya Nikitich. All three nicknames are very much suit this person. But I, for myself, opened in him the living God Velez, but decided to be silent and speak to nobody about it.
It appeared that none of those who comes here for many years knows his surname, nobody knows the year of his birth, and how this Forest-man lived earlier, when he wasn't a forest-wizard yet and been simply a person.
When you try to find out and receive answers to such simple questions, people strangely shrug shoulders, make helpless gestures and somehow cautiously look on the sides.
The information which I managed to get is quite diffuse: about 20 years ago, may be more or less, HE appeared in this forest with one axe and in nine months constructed that what we saw, what is impossible to describe with words, and it is better to see ones, than to hear for hundred times. They say that he built it alone, though as a sober person I realize that for one person to construct this is impossible without intervention of otherworldly force!
Also they say that he built all this in winter, slept just on snow and walked barefooted. "Well, that us already doesn't suits to any framework, it is absolutely strange! If in winter he goes barefooted, why in summer, in heat — in felt boots?!" — this question became a new obsession and stuck in my head.
"I should find out an answer about the felt boots, and then the obsession will disappear."
But to make it was not so simple, our hero was reticent on talk, isn't inclined to dialogues and on the asked questions preferred not to answer or answered with another question. And nevertheless I managed to send to him some people and find out the answer.
It was ridiculously simple: there are no mosquitoes in winter and therefore he goes barefooted, and in summer - in felt boots that mosquitoes wouldn't bite. It seems, everything is correct, but something in this answer confuses, some strange illogicality.
My head spun, the obsession didn't leave but hid and continued to disturb. It became clear that here it is impossible to think of anything in normal way. The best is to give oneself to the power of occurring events and simply observe.