The winds from the East still bring smells of death. We heard tales of how, after the bombs fell and the land growled in anger, ugly dark clouds hung there for weeks, shedding black tears over taiga. The hunters who were dispatched to find out the reason for such calamity came back and, with tears in their eyes, told of great distraction of all life and forest on the other side of lake Baikal. This happened during summer, so the poison didn't spread to the West, but in about ten years after the catastrophe, strange, deformed animals began to make their way though taiga. The Evenks feared and destroyed them on sight.
One day, not so long ago, Amur and Dular played in the forest. They heard a whimper and went to investigate. They wouldn't have found the cub, but she (it was a female) rose to her unsteady yet paws, and the boys froze in their tracks. Small wolfling was green, with red stripes under her soulful brown eyes! Gathering their courage, they first made sure that she was alone. Ever since my kids were toddlers, the Evenks taught them the ways of the forest-dwellers. One of the rules was to never interfere in the life of wild animals.
The next day boys returned to check on the cub. She was hungry and thirsty. They scooped some water into the tree bark and gave to her. On the third day the mother still didn't appear. She, probably, abandoned her strange offspring.There were no fresh paw-prints around the animal's hiding place. Small wolf was so weak from the lack of nourishment that she couldn't even lift her head anymore.
Amur and Dular brought the tiny mutant home. As the news of that spread, the shaman made his way to our house. He gazed at a cub for a long time, his eyebrows furrowed in consternation, but as Dular hugged him and asked to allow the animal to live, the shaman couldn't resist. He announced to his people, who gathered outside the house, that the cub didn't seem to present any immediate danger, and they should leave her alone for a while, until she can show her nature to them.
Boys called the wolf cub Midori, which means green in Japanese: before my husband died, he managed to teach them a few words in his ancestors' language. For the first two years, they and Midori were inseparable, then she began to disappear in the forest. She was, obviously, able to hunt for herself, and I convinced my sons to let her follow her own path. Any time, when they became lonesome for her, they would just call, and she'd turn up, to greet them effusively and poke her dark green nose into everything they were doing.
To be continued...