Текст книги

A. Belyaev
Classics fantasy – 5

«The science knows two hundred thousand species of insects. Charlz Read assumes that their not less than ten million. Every year not less than six and a half thousand new types are described. It will be not bad if six thousand more opened by Joseph Morel increase this year. What magnificent monument from insects will be erected to himself by Morel!» – professor was carried away in ambitious dreams. And his dreams were quite feasible. In this wood there would be enough material not for one «monument». Motley pieces of future greatness of Morel in the form of beautiful multi-colored butterflies rushed before it as snow flakes. It was only necessary to aggregate these flakes sparkling all colors of the rainbow – and scientific immortality of Morel is provided. His sharp-sighted eye of the scientist already noticed several unusual forms of butterflies, but Morel did not hurry. Among this inexhaustible wealth he was able to afford luxury to be legible. Besides he was interested in spiders more, and here they met a little.

The more went deep the Morello into a thicket, the shadows became more dense, the wood is more silent. Huge trunks of palm trees as columns, left highly up, closing light of the sun the weaved leaves. Vegetable parasites – orchids and bromeliya stuck to shaggy trunks of palm trees. And below young palm trees and ferns scattered the fanlike leaves, forming a dense underbrush. And from a palm tree to a palm tree, from a trunk to a trunk were stretched as snakes, uzlasty lianas – these wire entanglements of rainforests. In places the bright yellow beam of the sun cut through the greenish twilight of the wood, and in gold of beams the red wing of a parrot flashed, diamond sparkled flown by a humming-bird, the flame lit an orchid flower.

– O-and! O-and! Ha-ha-ha! – sharply the parrot shouted. It was answered by a big monkey. Hanging on a tail, she rhythmic was shaken, trying to reach a hand a parrot. But a parrot, having estimated distance a sloping eye, sat not movably and continued grumbling «about – and» as the neighbor who started a quarrel with boredom. Two little monkeys noticed the person and some time followed it, dexterously getting over on hands on lianas. One monkey grasped another by a tail. That began to squeal, grinned, and here they began to fight, having forgotten about Morel.

The wood lived life.

Morel’s legs softly went on the earth covered with a moss and the rotted-through leaves. It became more difficult to go. Damp, hothouse air was filled with aromas of flowers and plants so strongly that the Morello choked. As though over this wood there passed heavy rain from stupefyingly spicy spirits. The net was confused in branches. A morello fell, having hooked for lianas or the tumbled-down trunks which acquired a moss. The scientist passed no more than three kilometers, and already felt fatigue and all was covered with a perspiration. He decided to come to the open place. Having looked round, the Morello noticed from himself to the right a light spot as though there the dawn was engaged, and went to this gleam. It came to the forest glade going along the dried-up course of one of uncountable small inflows of Amazon soon. In the period of rains on this course the real river which was carrying away a windbreak in the prompt current stormed. But now the bottom was dry and covered with sharp marsh herbs. Only at the edges and here and there on a bottom the rotted-through trunks of trees which remained from a high water were scattered.

Morello went down in a dry bed of the river and inhaled in himself drier and rarefied air. The same minute its attention was attracted with the huge butterfly who had wingspan more than a meter. A morello even bent down, ready to a jump. In it the scientific and passionate insects hunter started talking.

«Absolutely new kind of acherontia medor (the dead head)» – thought the Morello, monitoring flight of a butterfly.

The back of a butterfly was not brown with a caesious reflection, as usual, and golden, with the dark blue drawing of a skull and the crossed bones. Her forward wings were the same golden color, and back – azure. A morello with chagrin thought that its net is too small to capture such big insect. But an exit was not. It had to catch this butterfly, at least with risk injure her wings. And the Morello jumped on a butterfly, having waved a net. The disturbed butterfly made the whistling sound and departed along a stream, as if setting on the hunter. A morello, jumping and falling, ran behind it. In a minute before his only desire was to stretch in a grass and to have a rest. But now he forgot about it and began to chase a butterfly with such heat as though he caught own immortality. And a butterfly, slowly waving soft wings, continued to attract it for itself as a marsh spark, dexterously dodging from a net in the zigzag flight. The bed of the river coiled, branched on several courses, did abrupt turns that complicated a pursuit even more. From Morel sweat poured streams, filling in eyes; a bag behind the back and a box for insects dangled on it as on the enraged camel, but he felt nothing and did not see, except the «Golden Fleece» flitting in air. Tens of times he was close to victory and already let out the triumphing cry, but the butterfly was imperceptible as fantastic «bluebird of happiness». A morello ceased to notice the road for a way back for a long time. If now a half of Brazil vanished into thin air, he would not notice, hypnotized by «the dead head».

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