For a long time I could not agree with the fact that Anastasia quite calmly left her still-nursing infant alone. Either she would simply lay him on the grass under some bush, or else next to some resting she-bear or she-wolf. I was already convinced that no beast would touch him. On the contrary, they would defend him to their last breath. Only from whom? If the beasts around him were like nannies, then who was there to defend against? Nevertheless, it's unsettling when an infant is left alone, and I tried to convince Anastasia not to do that.

"If beasts don't touch the child, that doesn't mean some other misfortune won't befall him."

She replied, "I cannot imagine what kind of misfortune you're thinking about, Vladimir."

"The many things that can happen to helpless children. For instance, he could climb a hillock and then roll off and twist his little leg or arm."

"The height a child can climb himself will not bring him harm."

"Well, and if he eats something harmful? He's foolish, he puts everything in his mouth, he could easily poison himself, and then who would pump his stomach? There aren't any doctors nearby, and you don't even have an enema to cleanse the child's bowels if something happened."

Anastasia only laughed. "Why an enema, Vladimir? There are other much more effective ways than enemas to cleanse the bowels."

"How's that?"

"Do you want to try? It wouldn't hurt you. I'll bring you a few herbs right away. . . ."

"Wait, no need, I understand. You want to give me something to upset my stomach."

"You've had an upset stomach for a long time. The herb will drive everything nasty from your stomach."

"I see, if anything happens you'll give the child herbs and he'll have diarrhea. But why let matters go that far with the child?"

"They won't. Our son is not going to eat anything nasty. Children, especially nursing infants used to mother's milk are never going to eat anything else in large quantities. Our son can only take a taste of one little berry or herb. If it's harmful, it will taste bitter, nasty for him, and he'll spit it out himself. If he eats a little and it starts to harm the stomach, he'll throw up; on the other hand, he will remember it and won't eat it again. But he will know the whole earth not from someone's stories but by taste. Let our son taste the Universe."

In general, she's probably right. Nothing bad has ever once happened to the child. I also noticed one interesting circumstance. The beasts that surround Anastasia's glade themselves train or teach their offspring how to interact with human beings. I used to think that it was Anastasia herself doing that, but later I became convinced that she does not spend her time on that.

Once, we were sitting at the edge of the glade, in the sun. Anastasia had just nursed our son, and he lay blissfully in her arms. First he dozed or slept a tiny bit. Then he began touching Anastasia's hair with his little hand and smiling. Anastasia looked and smiled at our son, too, and gently whispered to him.

I saw the she-wolf come out into the glade with its brood—four very little cubs. The she-wolf was walking toward us, but at about ten meters it lay down in the grass. The cubs tottering after her immediately got settled at her belly. Anastasia saw the she-wolf and cubs lying there, stood up, carrying our son, walked up to it, squatted a couple of meters from the she-wolf, and began to examine the wolf's brood with a smile.

At the same time, she said softly, "Oh, what handsome cubs our clever girl has borne. One is certain to be a leader, and this little girl is just like its mama, will bring pleasure and continue the line worthily."

The she-wolf seemed to be dozing, its eyes squinted languidly, either because it was dozing or from the caress in Anastasia's voice. The cubs left the she-wolf's belly in peace and began looking at Anastasia, and one of them, still not moving very confidently, headed in her direction.

The she-wolf, who'd seemed to be dozing, suddenly leapt up, snatched up the cub in its teeth, and tossed him back with the others. The same thing happened with another cub, and a third, and a fourth, all trying to get close to Anastasia. The foolish cubs kept up their attempts, but the she-wolf would not let them until they stopped their forays. Two cubs started wrestling and the others sat peacefully watching us. The child in Anastasia's arms also saw the she-wolf and cubs and began looking at them, then he kicked his little legs impatiently and made some summoning call.

Anastasia held out her hand to the she-wolf and cubs. Two cubs tottered toward the outstretched human hand, but this time the she-wolf did not try to stop them. On the contrary, she nudged the two playing cubs toward the outstretched hand. Soon after they were next to Anastasia. One started nipping a finger of Anastasia's outstretched hand, another rested its paws on her arm and stood, and two others crept up to her foot. My son was squirming in Anastasia's arms, obviously trying to get to the cubs. Anastasia lowered him to the grass, and he immediately forgot everything and started playing with them! After approaching the she-wolf and gently petting its nape, Anastasia returned to me.

I realized that the she-wolf, which was trained never to disturb Anastasia independently, would come to her only at a specific gesture, and now the she-wolf was teaching the same to its offspring. The she-wolf had probably been taught by its mother, and its mother by its mother, and so the beasts had handed down the rules for relations with human beings from generation to generation. And they are respectful relations, tactful, I must say. But who taught them the other, to attack man, and how?

In general, when you get to know the life of hermits of the Siberian taiga, lots of different questions arise, questions you could never have guessed possible before. Anastasia has no intention of changing her hermit's way of life. However, when I think about Anastasia as a hermit, I immediately associate the word "hermit" with someone isolated from society and from the information of the modern world. But what in fact happens? After each visit of mine to her glade, I publish a new book. Various people discuss it, old and young, scholars and leaders of religious confessions. Rather than me bringing her information from our all-informed society, she is presenting me with information that society finds interesting.

So who is the true hermit then? Haven't we become lost in a web of abundance, or rather, an apparent abundance of information? In fact, we have become isolated or broken off from the true source of information. What we have in fact is that Anastasia's remote taiga glade is the information center, like a cosmodrome to other dimensions of being. So who am I? Who are we? And who is Anastasia? Does this really matter now? The main thing lies elsewhere, in her latest statements concerning the possibility of transformation to a better life for the individual person, country, and human society as a whole by means of altering the conditions of an individual's daily life.

It is incredibly simple. Each person must be given at least a hectare of land, and then she goes on to tell us what needs to be done on this land and then . . . It's incredible, such simplicity. . . . And man will always have the energy of Love. There will be spouses who love each other. There will be happy children, many diseases will vanish, and wars and cataclysms will cease. Man will get closer to God.

Basically she has proposed constructing many glades similar to hers next to the big cities. At the same time, she does not reject using our civilization's achievements. "Let the negative work for the good, too," she says. I have come to believe in her project, to believe in the beautiful thing that must happen when it is implemented in our life. A lot of it seemed understandable. However, I have to check everything thoroughly one more time and think it through. Her project has to be adapted to each locale.

I was gripped by Anastasia's idea concerning land and its arrangement. I wanted to get home as fast as possible and see what scholars had to say about similar settlements. Was there anything like it in the world already? I wanted first to design the new settlement in detail and then begin to build it jointly with those wishing to take part in its construction. Of course, neither I nor anyone else alone can take responsibility for singlehandedly designing this beautiful settlement of the future. We must do it together. We will have to discuss the information together and design our settlement taking others' mistakes into account..

Книга:  Book V: Who Are We?