The Morning Star

Katerina Trilogy - 3


Robin Bridges

For Shane, my world traveler.

The road goes ever on.


Russians have two official first names: a given name and a patronymic, or a name that means “the son of” or “the daughter of.” Katerina Alexandrovna, for example, is the daughter of a man named Alexander. Her brother is Pyotr Alexandrovich. A female patronymic ends in “–evna” or “–ovna,” while the male patronymic ends in “–vich.”

It was traditional for the nobility and aristocracy to name their children after Orthodox saints, thus the abundance of Alexanders and Marias and Katerinas. For this reason, nicknames, or diminutives, came in handy to tell the Marias and the Katerinas apart. Katerinas could be called Katiya, Koshka, or Katushka. An Alexander might be known as Sasha or Sandro. A Pyotr might be called Petya or Petrusha. When addressing a person by his or her nickname, one does not add the patronym. The person would be addressed as Katerina Alexandrovna or simply Katiya.

What is this place to which I’ve come? There is neither water nor air here, its depth is unfathomable, it’s as dark as the darkest night, and men wander about there helplessly. A man cannot live here and be satisfied, and he cannot gratify the cravings of affection.