RUSSIA: Sovietisms

An owl perched disapprovingly, last week, on the locomotive of the Leningrad-Vologda express. The engine began to chuff. The owl hunched down and fixed two luminous, menacing eyes upon the smiling engineer.

Roaring now, the express touched 50 miles an hour. Wind blown, the owl sought support by hooking a long sharp claw into the mechanism of the air brake. Instantly the valves tripped, setting all brakes. Passengers pitched higgeldy piggeldy from their seats, cursing. The owl, its claw caught in the tripped mechanism, was captured, disentangled and preserved alive by the kindly engineer.

Commissar (Minister) of Health N. A. Semashko...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!