The Piebald Horses (Kuprin)

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The Piebald Horses
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A saint and a stage-driver traveled through Russia to stop a giant from overthrowing the true faith, encountering various obstacles and ultimately succeeding in their mission.

St. Nicholas, a Greek miracle-worker, was traveling through Russia to help the people with their various troubles. One day, a heavenly messenger informed him that Arius-the-Giant was threatening to overthrow the true faith at the Nikitsky Cathedral during Holy Week. St. Nicholas decided to go there immediately and enlisted the help of a stage-driver named Vassily.

St. Nicholas — miracle-worker; kind, simple, and accessible; mediator for the people.
Vassily — stage-driver; God-fearing, skilled driver, loyal to St. Nicholas.

I will go, spoke the Blessed Saint. Do not tarry, dear one! There is so little time left and you know yourself the distance is long.

Vassily and St. Nicholas traveled through the snowy landscape, encountering robbers and other obstacles along the way. They eventually reached a village where they were met with hostility and found their horses brutally killed. St. Nicholas miraculously brought the horses back to life, but they were now piebald, or spotted.

Never mind, Vassily, never mind! Don't complain and don't despair. This trouble can be remedied.

As they neared the Nikitsky Cathedral, Arius-the-Giant began reading the Creed in a blasphemous manner.

Arius-the-Giant — antagonist; wicked, powerful, and threatening; enemy of Orthodoxy.

Just as he was about to finish, St. Nicholas entered the church and stared at him with wrath. Arius-the-Giant was overcome with pain and was taken outside, where he died without repentance.

Take me out … I want fresh air … it is stifling here … Oh! I feel—I know—there is something wrong in the pit of my stomach.

From that day on, Vassily continued to use piebald horses, which became known for their endurance and strength.