"Cuckoo" - a dangerous entertainment for Russian officers

The deadly game of "Cuckoo" served as entertainment for bored officers of the Russian Imperial Army and was widespread in all distant garrisons, from Merv to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. In the Far East, it is true, they called her "Tiger". Quote:

“Now it has become much quieter. The scope is smaller - and the bosses are putting obstacles. Before they were in the city: there is no circus, no theater ... The audience will gather at one of the singles, or in their officers' mess, and when they drink a good drink, they will immediately start playing the cuckoo. Loved the passion for this game.

- What is this cuckoo, Esaul? The doctor asked again. - Any card game?

Esaul burst out laughing ...

- Cuckoo? .. - he asked again after a minute, throwing the gnawed bone away from him. - This, I will report to you, is an interesting game, for those who only have strong nerves ... Usually some kind of large building is chosen for this. The barn, or something, or the stable is empty - and so, ten people climb there at night, each with a revolver in their hands, and a good supply of cartridges ... They will extinguish the fire and disperse throughout the room ... Well, everyone will find something there, a barrel, a box, and then some other thing, but for it and will be buried ... And one, by lot, must represent the cuckoo ... They will sit down ... And quietly, so quietly everything will be, even breathing is not audible. And then the cuckoo will shout: "Ku - ku" ... The rest of the voice at the cuckoo and shoot ... How they will almost suffice in one gulp ... Tra - that - that, and the bullets click on the walls ... And again it is quiet again, so that you yourself hear, like a heart pounding in my chest ... And there again: "Ku-ku". And in response: tra - that - that ... Directly, many got into the excitement. You shoot, you shoot ... He listens, and again: "Ku-ku". You forget that this is your own brother kukuet, and all you think is: "Wait, damn it, the next time I'll cut you off properly." It happens that they take turns kukuyut, but run across from place to place ... And as they go to shoot, so listen from the side - a whole battle ... It will be fun that way.

- And what, did such a game always end happily? - the agitated doctor was indignant.

“What’s safe there, ” the narrator replied in a soothing tone. It was different ... Once, I remember, there was such an unfortunate cuckoo that our cornet was thrown away at once, without firing a dozen shots. They also shot the lieutenant, I don't remember his last name, I know that the rifleman was ... So then they fired almost all night long, but only in the morning, when everyone was tired, we hear: "Oh." We lit a fire, we look - they shot the lieutenant's hand ... And nothing, the hand healed.

- Well, you had mores here, - Doctor K laughed nervously ... You seem to remember this with some special pleasure. It just becomes scary. After all, in this way, you can send a person to the next world not for a penny ...

- Well, it happened, but I’ll tell you, it seems - a wild game, but it taught itself to control itself ... Look, another fellow took part in everything: he played in different stories, he played the cuckoo, and went to the tiger ... And it was worked out in such a way that the nerves are like ropes. The first person then ended up in the war. Laugh to yourself, but I will nevertheless say that this reckless daring also served to the advantage, fostering the spirit that the Turkestan troops have always distinguished ... Now you condemn the cuckoo ... But a whole generation of Turkestan officers were brought up on it in the consciousness that life is a penny, and therefore these tomboys then showed, when necessary, miracles of courage ... Everything has its time ... "

D.N. Logofet. On the borders of Central Asia. Travel sketches in 3 books. Book 2. Russian-Afghan border. - SPb., 1909.