And comes a day when inhabitants of Istobensk village congratulate one another on a nice harvest of cucumbers. Many of us like the vegetables. But have you ever thought of the labor that was invested?
Every cucumber grower must come through the rite of initiation.
Cucumber is a mere mystery. Till now there has been a tradition according to which nobody including members of the family and neighbors should see how the first vegetables are planted. Otherwise they will turn yellow. Cucumbers are gathered in the morning due to their strange property of growing at night.
The pap of one large cucumber is removed and the formed cavity is filled with vodka. A person who is willing to be come a professional grower must drink the vodka and eat the cucumber. In case he still stands on his legs after that he becomes a member of the club. However, only an indigenous inhabitant of the village will join the ranks.
The vegetable even has a patron of its own who is responsible only for its growth. His name is St. Thalelaeus.
As soon as one find himself in the village of Istobinsk he notices unusual even and long garden beds at once. Such beds are not made for potatoes, onions or cabbages. There is a working person in every garden which is a large cucumber plantation. The main street of the village is called Labour Street because the inhabitants are very hard-working.
The climate here is rather severe. The land is not fertile and consists of clay layer. Many years ago ancestry of the modern inhabitants had no gardens and were fed by the river Vyatka. They were captains or sailors and lived rich enough not to have any gardens. But once the river lost its commercial importance, the people concentrated their efforts on planting.
They started with cabbage growing. Then turned to onions. But it was the cucumber that made them rich.