| In English
Viche 2008 8

8, 2008

When freedom costs 2, 500 karbovanetses

On April, 22, 1838 Taras Shevchenko was ransomed from slavery

Invaluable document a vacationing was handed to the youth by the great poet Vasyl Zhukovskyi in the luxurious Petersburg workshop of the world-famous artist Karl Bryulov on April, 25. Yesterday's Ukrainian boy-servant, practically a slave who could be sold to anybody, clasped the paper to his bosom and began to cry from happiness. Another witness of this solemn performance - count Mykhaylo Viyelhorsky turned aside so that nobody could see his tears. This influential secret adviser became the first among those who presented freedom to the person.

It cost 2, 500 karbovanetses. Exactly this sum of money was asked by Mister Pavlo Engelgardt who was the owner of the boy. Money was raised at a lottery where the portrait of Zhukovskyi created by Karl the Great was raffled off. Tsar's family added then thousand karbovanetses to the necessary sum: the tsarina gave 400, the successor of the throne Oleksandr and Princess Maria gave 300 each. Poets liberators Bryulov, Zhukovskyi and Viyelhorskyi didnt drink champaign and didnt expect gratitude from Shevchenko. And he, remembering as yet recently he gave a coffee to the mister, disbelieving his eyes, again and again read both the whole document or its separate luminiferous lines: In the year eighteen thousand and thirty eight on the twenty second of April I, the undersigned redundant from service colonel Pavlo Vasylyev, the son of Engelgart, have liberated my serf Taras Grygoryev, the son of Shevchenko Shevchenko is free to choose the way of life whatever he wishes

Yesterday serf, having witnessed the vacationing in the chamber of civil court, began to visit the so called painting classes of the Academy of arts. Karl Bryulov, who even couldnt imagine that an assiduous student had already changed a close barn to a more or less decent apartment in house 100 of the second block of Vasylyevskyi Island, became his teacher. The master of brush was not surprised when the youth had appeared before him in fashionable clothes: as it had to be among people. New society dandy (so partly ironically and enviously Taras was styled by his friend Ivan Soshenko) was introduced without superfluous talks to prestige Petersburg society by Karl the Great. That, who will be called a genius later, thirsty drank the tempting, not known earlier drinks of freedom. To a new captivity soldier service it was yet far.

Mykola SLAVYNSKYI