The Parable about the Truth and the Lie
The gorgeous, delicate Truth was beautifully dressed,
Bringing joy to the cripples and orphans in stride.
The flagrant Lie had invited this Truth as a guest,
Telling her, why don't you stay over here for the night?
And the gullible Truth promptly fell asleep, languid,
Started to drool, as she smiled, all lost in her dream.
The cunning old Lie hogged the pillow and blanket,
Dug its fangs into Truth, and was joyful, it seemed.
With a mug of a bulldog, the Lie was crooked and sly, -
- The Truth's just a tramp, so, why all this ado?
There's no difference at all between the Truth and the Lie, -
Strip them both naked, you'll never know who is who.
The careful Lie weaved the ribbons out of her tresses,
Grabbed the beautiful outfits that the Truth often wore,
Took her money, her watch and her documents out of the dresser,
Spat on the floor, cursed aloud, and went for the door.
Not until morning did the Truth realize what transpired,
And when she looked at herself, she was taken aback, -
Someone already got hold of some soot and had mired
The untainted Truth, and abandoned her, dirty and black.
As the people threw stones, she only laughed at the crowd:
- It's a Lie, that is all – and the Lie is wearing my dress!
As two cripples wrote her report, they were angry and loud,
Calling her names, and blaming the Truth for the mess.
They called her a bitch, and that was just the beginning,
Then, they set off a dog, and covered her with brown clay:
"You're exiled from here!" They enlightened her, grinning:
"You have twenty four hours to leave, so get on your way."
Their report had concluded with cruelty, hatred and meanness,
(As they pinned on the Truth someone else's offense)
There's a scum that's called Truth, but frankly, between us,
She just drank herself naked, and the rest is pretense.
The naked Truth swore to God and seemed sick and unstable.
She was walking the streets, begging people for change.
The dirty old Lie stole a thoroughbred horse from her stable
And galloped away on the long, skinny legs, disengaged.
Even now, an oddball upholds the pure Truth's travail,
But, if truth be told, there's little of Truth in this guy:
- The untainted Truth will one day surely prevail
If it acts in the fashion of the blatant, deliberate Lie.
Often, when sharing a bottle of booze with your buddies,
You can hardly imagine how you're going to get by.
God's honest truth! You could even get robbed by somebody,
Look, it's your trousers worn by the devious Lie.
Look, it's your watch being checked by the devious Lie.
Look, who is ridding your horse, - it's the devious Lie.
By Vladimir Vysotsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller