My name is Pasha Zuibimov. I live a day's journey from Saint Petersburg on a farm that was passed down for many generations in my family. The honor of keeping the farm was given to me. I have been living alone for five years now after my mother died of sickness. The year is now 1903 and my farm is still quiet. My livestock is safe and I'm inside in pain. Weeks prior to this event I have ran into trouble with some thieves who beaten me and left me in the mud to die. I lived but since then I have had severe pains in my lower half of the body. The pain came and went but now it is getting to the point that when it comes, it stays longer and hurts worse. My nearest neighbor who lives half a mile away told me I should see a doctor, I have no time.
One night as the sun was going down I was chopping firewood. The pain returned and I had to stop my work and wait for it to pass. After several minutes the pain left. I picked up the fire wood and turned, just to be confronted by a tall man in black. I was frightened by the sudden presence of such a man! He was taller than I, his hair was long and unkempt, and he had a long beard and his eyes, my god his eyes, they were piercing blue! I could swear his eyes were knives. He just stood there staring at me blankly.
"Stranger you startled me!" I said
"For that I am sorry" the man said with a slight nod. When he nodded his head at me, he never took his eyes away from mine.
"What are you, a holy man?" I asked. His robes looked like the robes of a monk, which would explain his hair and beard.
"Some say so, some say not. I'm just a man in need of shelter for a night." The man held his big hands towards me and looked at the pile of wood I was carrying as if he wanted to carry the wood for me.
"Thank you Monk." I said as I gave him the firewood.
"Grigori." Said he
"My name is Grigori."
"Please come inside, Grigori." I lead him into my house and closed the door, the pain in my body returned; I dared not show my guest I was weak. I looked over and saw the man was sitting upright with his hands in his lap on one of my chairs just looking at me, the firewood placed neatly by my stove. I walked over and Grigori stood.
"A feast!" he said loud
"A feast, for what is the occasion my friend?" I was unsure.
"Life!" He called out with his hands in the air. "Our chance meeting! And I'm starving!"
After a while of preparing a meal the size I never made before we dined on roasted chicken, Cabbage soup and duck that I hunted a day ago. My guest and I ate and talked, all the while we drank wine. It took me a while to notice but my guest was drinking more than I was, and he was still sober. He was on his third bottle of wine, the last of my wine! He talked to me about his journeys to Greece and the Holy Land of Jerusalem all the while his beard was filled with crumbs of food and wet from wine. Grigori did not stop at the wine; he demanded for more, he drank all that I had!
"All I have is two bottles of Vodka!" I exclaimed to the monk.
"Bring it to me Pasha Zuibimov!" he called out. As I left to get the bottles I remembered that I never told him my last name, how did he know?
We continued to eat and drink, the bottles of vodka lay on the floor with the wine bottles as he and I sang songs about God, summer days and girls. I had too much wine so the spirit in me to me that I should dance, I got up and started to clap and move. Grigori laughed and clapped too stomping his feet. As we laughed the pain came. This time the pain was too great that all the wine and vodka I drank could not dull it. I doubled over and fell to the floor hard.
I remembered looking at the wood grain in the floor and breathing out hard sending the dirt flying out of the cracks of the wood. I felt as if I was dying. A tall shadow covered me in shade from the oil lamps. I tried to look but could barely move. I felt the heavy strong hands of Grigori pick me up and drag me across the room and into the area that my bed was and laid me down. I was gasping for air, tears rolled down my face as the burning pain grew and grew. My view of the ceiling was blocked by Grigori's face that was now looking down at me. His long hair dangled inches from my face, those piercing blue eyes looking into my soul. His blank stare scared me as much as the pain.
Before I could have said anything else he set his hand on my abdomen where the pain was coming from. His mouth moved but I heard nothing. As he talked silently he made the sign of the cross and took his thumb and made the sign on my forehead. As he did this all I could do was look into his eyes. I heard my beating heart in my ear, the pace of my heart was fast then start to slow, everything started to fade out but his eyes seemed more noticeable than ever as if they started to glow! I could not feel the pain; I started to hear Grigori's voice. He was praying, his prayers where so fast I could barely make them out. Then his eyes stopped glowing, my stomach felt warm, my vision came back and I could hear everything again.
"Amen." He said as he did the sign of the cross with his big hands before touching my forehead and slowly slid his hand down, his middle and index fingers pulling down my eyelids, "Sleep." Was the last thing I heard.
I woke the next morning feeling as if nothing happened to me. I felt stronger than before, I felt great! I got out of bed and standing by my table was Grigori with a blank stare.
"It was a miracle!" I called to him.
He nodded, "Consider it a gift Pasha."
"You welcomed a stranger in your home. You fed me and let me drink. I repaid your kindness with his blessings." He held a hand skyward. "I must go now. I must go to Saint Petersburg."
"Saint Petersburg?" I asked.
He nodded again silently, "I must meet someone. Farewell my friend." With that he made the sign of the cross one last time in my house and walked out the door into the morning's light.
After my encounter with Grigori I no longer live alone. A month later I married my neighbor's eldest daughter and we have a child on the way. I pray every day thanking God for allowing me to live. I thought about Grigori everyday and thanked him to myself for healing me. I thought I would never see or hear from him again till one day in 1905 I read about him! He healed the Tsarevich, the Tsar's Son! Such an honor to be healed by the same man who healed royalty! All of Russia will know of his good deeds and maybe someday his good deeds will be known to the rest of the world. I'll be there to tell others of my chance encounter with Grigori Rasputin.