A Big She-Bear by Mikho Mosulishvili
Translated from Georgian into English by Manana Rusieshvili-Cartledge
The text in English translated version
Word count – 30 420
Characters (with spaces) per page – 1,800
Characters (with spaces) per all pages – 168, 401
A hypothetical number of pages – 168,401 ⁚ 1,800 = 93.56
The inhabitants of a village located in the mountains of South Caucasus struggle with a big She-Bear. The bear has caused damage to the villagers’ corn fields, beehives and cattle, killed hunters and their dogs and avoided all kinds of traps. The village governor (administrative head), called a Biblical name Ahab, tries to kill the big she-bear with the help of the villagers. All the inhabitants of the village realize that this bear is a ghost from Ahab’s past life.
A little boy – Vache, 12, lives in a Caucasian village. He witnesses the death of Gocha, 22, the son of the village governor Ahab. Gocha is killed by a bear, and Ahab, infuriated, starts a struggle against the beast.
The superstitious villagers are unwilling to kill the bear. In order to persuade them, Ahab, assisted by a teacher of physics, Baido, tries to cut down a sacred oak-tree (people believe that an angel ‘Monk Giorgi’ lives in the oak-tree and is a patron of the bear). However, Ahab fails to persuade the villagers.
Ahab has to hunt the bear alone. However, the bear defeats him and beats him severely. Ahab has a narrow escape from death. Vache and his grandfather Elia are happy about Ahab’s failure, as they are against the murder of the bear.
As Ahab, disabled, returns from hospital, Baido, who is now a manager of the village club, offers him a new plan of hunting: ‘Jelgaoba’ (collective bear-hunting with a previously dug hole in which the bear has to fall). They manage to trap the bear and give it a drug. Then they tie it with a chain to a bulldozer and take it to the village. Later they tie the bear on the stage of a village club which used to be a church.
A shooting crew invited by Ahab arrives from Tbilisi. The village is going to hold a trial of the bear, but at that moment Elia climbs a mountain and shoots his gun to cause an avalanche.
The avalanche starts, and half of the club is buried in the snow. The bear frees itself from the chain and hits Ahab to death. People flee from the club in panic. Vache notices Baido who is pointing his gun at the bear. Vache covers his ears and shuts his eyes. Yet, he hears a gunshot and the sound of the bear falling to the ground. He also hears the joyous yelling of excited Baido…
In his dream Vache sees a big hand stretching down from the sky and raising the female bear by its tail. The bear turns into seven stars – the constellation of The Big Dipper*.
In 2015 the author as a screenwriter is winner for project ‘A Big She-Bear’ in the competition ‘Adaptation of the 21st Century Georgian Literary Work’ organized of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Georgian National Film Center and Georgian National Book Center.
* The Big Dipper, also known as the Plough, is an asterism of seven stars recognized as a distinct grouping in many cultures. These stars are the brightest of the formal constellation Ursa Major. The constellation of Ursa Major has been seen as a bear by many distinct civilizations.
* Georgia, Tbilisi: Saunje Rublishing, 2013 – ISBN: 978-9941-451-14-0