The sun was just past noon. The heat was unbearable. Was one of those sweltering July days, when the sun warmed the earth does not have time for the night to radiate heat into space, and the next morning, it accumulates even more, and this becomes unbearably stuffy. Today was a peculiar "muffled". The sun was beating down mercilessly and so heated the rocks on the shore, that the touch of his bare hand to get an impression of burning. The sun's rays reflect off the water blinding glare, so it was painful to watch. All the birds and animals were hiding from the heat. Deep silence broken only by the nature uniformly monotonous noise of the river, but the hum of insects. The stronger the sun scorching heat, the more they showed life. Some of them flew, others were running on sand, others climbed the flowering plants as if in order to make sure that all is in order. On reaching the summit, they immediately turned and started going down the stalk, or straightening hard elytra, suddenly shot up and flew to another plant, where hastily started the same examination. I've been watching them. There were so many: large and small, brightly colored and inconspicuous, elegant and ugly, ugly, all shapes, simple, or is like real monsters in miniature. Attracted my attention some insects of the family Carabidae. They were running on the sand and sometimes froze in a fixed position, suddenly made leaps and seizing an insect, immediately taken to devour it greedily. This is a very predatory, voracious beetles and cautious, brightly painted, with bulging eyes and strong jaws. At the slightest hint of danger, they immediately rose into the air and quickly disappeared from sight.
At this time I was approached Nozdrin and recalled that he and I were going to Cape Chzhuanka. Having dealt with insects, I took my gun and went with him along the shore, with the intention to view the coastal outcrops. There were lying at the foot of many angular fragments of various sizes - from meter cube to the size of a human head, with sharp edges and overgrown with sedge and rough stone wormwood. At a height of two meters from the foot of the cliff was a long ledge. I walked over to him and began to look out for, which could be got on it. At this time in my field of view at the edge of the ledge, I thought, flashed a small object the size of a thimble. Flashed and was gone ... I was about to grab hold of the edge of the ledge, as once again shows the same small elongated object, but in a different location. This time I had to consider it better. He was on a long stalk. This interested me, and I doubled the attention. About two minutes later on the edge of the cliff again saw two such items. One immediately disappeared, and the other remains stationary. Suddenly it dawned on me. From the upper end of the "subject" in the stem leaning dark viloobrazny tongue snakes. Involuntarily cry, I quickly pulled my hands away from the stones. I moved away from the ledge a couple of paces and Nozdrin went to look if I could climb up to the ledge somewhere else. The search for his success. I saw him walking along the ledge and called for it to be careful. Nozdrin slowed down and carefully looked at the ground. A little before reaching the place where I saw the snake, he suddenly stopped. The expression of his eyes, I saw that he was focused on something scary and unpleasant.
- What is it? - I asked him.
- Yes, there are many snakes, and they are all in a heap, - said the shooter.
- Be careful, do not touch them - I said Nozdrina, again approaching the cliff.
Stepping back a bit, he shook my hand, and I easily climbed to the ledge, where he saw a large crevice that runs diagonally along the terrace, one side of it comes close to the edge of the terrace. Cleft was more than a meter long and a width of 12 centimeters. Judging by the fact that the upper edge of its steep fall in, I think, it was a depth of about half a meter. It is all up to the top was full of snakes. Flat heads of diamond shape, colorful design on the body, short necks and tails and evil look in his eyes with slit-shaped pupils indicated that they were all poisonous snakes. They were woven in a big ball, so it was difficult to say which of them belonged to one or another part of the body. Snakes can hardly move, from time to time, they raised their heads and stick out their tongues. Them is what I saw when I was down at the foot of the ledge.
At this time, on the edge of the slit had a large black ant. He went into one of the snakes and climbed on her head. Ant legs touched the eyes and mouth, a reptile, but it only showed a little tongue. Ant switched snake, then a third - they seemed not to notice the presence of an uninvited guest.
Then Nozdrin touched snake stick. I thought they scatter in all directions, and is preparing to jump off a cliff, but, to his surprise, he saw that they almost do not respond to such a familiarity to them. Upper reptiles twitched slightly and again relaxed. Shooter touched them stronger. The effect was the same. Then he began to throw stones at them, but it did not help bring them out of that state of stillness, laziness and apathy in which they are located.
It was unpleasant to look at the cleft, literally filled with snakes, which also published a special odor.
When we returned to camp, Nozdrin began telling his friends about what he had seen. Arrow wanted to go back and scald with boiling water snakes, but I dissuaded them from doing so, and explained that reptiles are always going into balls for copulation, during which the fertilized females. Cossacks and the whole evening talking about snakes arrows. Everyone had something to remember. Zhang Bao said that they can turn to the people. Oroch Namuka said that according to Kyaka (udeheytsa) live somewhere too big snake Modum that can spew flames from his mouth, and the Gold Kosyakov surreptitiously said that they have been on the Ussuri shaman who drove after him and snakes give them different assignments as messengers. Finally made Marunich. "Two years ago - he said - I saw the snake curled up on the sand. I hit it with a stick. So what do you think: she grabbed his teeth for this very far". It appeared that the snake insolent to the fact that he dared to bite the subject that she struck on the head.
Nine o'clock in the evening from the sea loomed fog so thick that it is on the screen, reflected the shadows of people, which now stretched up, then fall to the ground. It was cold and damp. I told stoked the fire and took the diary, and Cossacks began to settle down for the night.
The next day we continued on our way. When the boats were passing Cape Chzhuanka, I Nozdrin, Krylov and Zhang Bao went to see snakes, but cleft was empty. We turned a few large stones at the bottom of the cornice, but here they found nothing.