Excerpt from Three Men: A Novel
There are many solitary graves amid the woods of Kerschentz; within them moulder the bones of old men, men of an ancient piety, and of one of these old men, Antipa, this tale is told in the villages of Kerschentz.
Antipa Lunev, a rich peasant of austere disposition, lived to his fiftieth year, sunken in worldly sins, then was moved to profound self-examination, and seized with agony of soul, forsook his family and buried himself in the loneliness of the forest. There on the edge of a ravine he built his hermit's cell, and lived for eight years, summer and winter. He let no one approach him, neither acquaintances nor kindred. Sometimes people who had lost their way in the woods came by chance on his hut and saw Antipa kneeling on the threshold, praying. He was terrible to see - worn with fasting and prayer, and covered with hair like a wild beast. If he caught sight of any one, he rose up and bowed himself to the ground before him. If he were asked the way out of the forest, he indicated the path with his hand without speaking, bowed to the ground again, went into his cell and shut himself in. He was seen many times during the eight years, but no man ever heard his voice. His wife and children used to visit him, he took food and clothing from them, bowed himself before them as before others, but, during the time of his anchorite life, spoke no word with them any more than with strangers.
He died the same year that the hermitages of the wood were swept away, and his death came in this fashion.