1 – The Noble Child
Arkadi, the singer begins by narrating the story of the governor of Grusinia – Georgi Abashwili – a rich man with a wife, son, many horses and soldiers, and a large palace. Georgi and his family go to church on the morning of Easter Sunday where they meet beggars and petitioners on the gateway. The governor, however, does not listen to their grievances and his soldiers push the crowds back using whips.
The governor’s son, Michael, is brought out to be seen for the first time. He is driven in a decorated carriage and accompanied by his mother – Natella Abashwili and two doctors. Prince Kazbeki, the governor’s brother, comes to greet the governor and bows before Michael. Natella informs the prince that the governor intends to demolish slums in order to expand his garden. A messenger arrives from the capital with important news for the governor. The governor refuses to listen to him saying he does not wish to receive to military news before dinner.
Meanwhile, Grusha – a maid in the governor’s kitchen – is left behind to look for goose for the family’s banquet. She briefly meets with Simon Shashava – a young soldier, before she goes home to prepare dinner. However, shortly after the governor returns, the palace is surrounded by the Prince’s soldiers (ironshirts) who arrest the governor before he could even talk to the architects or the messenger from the capital.
Later, the governor is executed and Natella is forced to run away to the capital. She, however, concentrates too much on which clothes to carry that she forgets her baby – Michael. Simon is ordered to escort Natella to the capital. Before going, he meets Grusha and gives her a silver chain that his mother had given him. Grusha promises to wait for Simon and to be faithful until he comes back.
After Natella leaves, Grusha and the other servants discover that Michael has been left behind. Despite the chaos, violence and terror in the city, Grusha stays with Michael throughout the night as other servants run away. In the morning, she leaves with the child and heads to the north.
- Is it ironical that the governor is killed on Easter Sunday? Explain.
- “The Fat Prince is right to overthrow the governor.” Do you agree with this statement?
- Was it a mistake for the governor to ignore the messenger from the capital?
The flight into the northern mountains