“The brave will be the one
who three times a year
In this eerie hour
mows the grass.”
And indeed, after all bunnies were not afraid of a wolf, or an owl… Apparently, the tryn-grass had some magical properties, but what this is a problem — it is not clear.
However, the erudite reader – lover of Russian classics could well remember the mention of tryn-grass in literature. Remembered her both Pushkin, who boldly declared “To me honesty — tryn-grass”, and Leskov that wrote about some islands “where the grass grows”, and Chekhov that mentioned even “an infusion of tryn-grass, to drink which follows on Saturdays.”
Leskov used this expression in his article on the settlement of desert territories.
True, the latter was not doing it seriously, meaning, apparently, something like a placebo. The mention of this mysterious plant is also found in the works of Bunin, L. N. Tolstoy and other authors.
True, the meaning of this word in almost all classics is the same. “tryn-grass” means something minor, nonsense, something not worth attention. Even Dahl, when compiling his dictionary, erased the origin of this word to the verb “trynkat”, associating with trynka-bagpipes. Perhaps not coincidentally, the word Tryn has the same root as the verb “tryndët”, i.e. to talk about nothing, empty, idle.
Both Dahl and Ushakov and Ozhegov are unanimous in their opinion: tryn-grass is something empty, meaning nothing, not worth attention and irrelevant.
But such an interpretation does not explain the origin of the enigmatic “tryn-grass”.
Some interpreters believe that the word “tryn” is very close in meaning to the word “tyn”, i.e. fence. Thus it turns out that trin-grass is grass growing under the fence, weed. However, many of the weeds are quite edible (nettles, morets, etc.), and the word “grass” in the broader sense can be interpreted as food, food, food. Then it turns out that the hares simply prepared for themselves sustenance.
What are the hares?
However, at the same time it is not quite clear why they mowed it, and not ate at once, as all animals do in nature. And there’s also an explanation for that. There is a legend that hares at night don’t just eat grass, but mow it. Created this bike in the people to oppose the introduction of “hare” currency: in some areas it was allegedly proposed to introduce hares on a par with money, and the people resisted, let Rumor that, say, not so harmless are critters, dark affairs at night, so it’s best to leave everything as it is.
Anthem of Soviet intellectuals
But why is the unpretentious song so loved by Soviet people? Maybe the point is that the mysterious grass had another meaning. So, A.N. Volsky considered that in addition to the main meaning of which was mentioned above, the word “tryn” has also others, such, for example, as “to spoil”, “to destroy”. Thus, it turns out that the grass is a grass destroyed, spoiled, i.e. already mown. Thus, scything tryn-grass, hares did nobody necessary, empty work, but sort of didn’t idle. Isn’t that how most intelligent and just thinking people of the period felt?
By doing a job in which there was no sense, without standing out from the general mass, one could not be afraid of “wolves” and “owls”, i.e. those at the top of the social pyramid.
Not for the gift many creative people of the Soviet era chose the most unencumbered and institious work: if you are engaged in “tryn-grass”, then at a minimum.
In light of this meaning, the song about slashing grass hares acquired almost political meaning.