Wanda Wasilewska, Tęcza, The Rainbow
Stalin Prize Winner 1943
translated from Polish by George Hanna and Elizabeth Donnelly.
Calcutta, General Publishers LTD. 126. Viveidacanan Road

''What under the sun is that? '' She stopped short and looked in the direction in which Kurt was pointing. In the distance, where the blue of the ground merged with the chill blue of the sky, a rainbow was gleaming, a glowing. column of colour rising aloft and disappearing, melting away in the infinite heights. Green, blue, violet and rose hues, a crystal clear, translucent vision, pure and light, like tinted down. "A rainbow," said the astonished Kurt. "A rainbow in winter. . . . Do you have such things here?" Pusya thought for a moment. "No, I don't think so, at least l”ve never seen one before." Kurt was still standing there, his eyes bent on the glowing column of colours joining heaven and earth. “Comc on, it's cold, my feet arc frozen. . . . " They say the rainbow is a good omen .... " "A rainbow is a rainbow," said Pusya, finally losing all patience and tugging at his sleeve. In those few minutes the column had soared still higher and curved round. Now the rainbow hung over the earth in a triumphal arch, rose, violet and green, glowing with a luminous gold-steeped sheen. The sky, a huge glass cupola, covered the earth like a glass bell. On the square, the soldiers at the guns, their heads thrown back, were staring at the unusual sight. When they got home, Fedosia Kravchuk was standing in front of the cottage. She too was looking at the rainbow, quietly, keenly, intently. ''They say the rainbow is a good omen,'' remarked the officer as he passed. The elderly peasant woman shrugged her shoulders. "Yes, yes, so they say," she answered in a strange voice, and stood aside to let them inter. She herself remained standing at the door. Dressed only in blouse and skirt, her arms bare, she stood there completely oblivious of the bitter frost, unable to take her eyes from the glowing vision, the triumphal arch flung across the sky, iridescent, pervaded with a soft, golden, diffuse radiance.
"Did you see the rainbow?" "Yes, I saw it. "What's it mean?". The tall man shrugged his shoulders. "What can it mean? I suppose they have rainbow in . winter. But just look ait those columns! " "That's from the frost." "Of course, and the rainbow must be from the frost, too. " "Possibly," agreed the short German, breathing on his hands, and looked around uneasily. "What's there? " "Nothing, I was just looking."
She still grasped the rifle in her hand, but she herself was already far, far away from everything, floating in the rainbow sheen, in the azure blue of the icy morning, in the sparkling snow on which the sun's first rays were falling. The first rays had awakened the rainbow. It’s pale arch had been visible overhead all night long, but only as an indistinct, pearly strip, hardly noticeable in the depths of the sky. Now the sun gave it brilliance, warmth and colour, and it played in the heavens with a pure light, and the delicate hues of tinted fluff. It was steeped in the glow of rosy petals, the violet of early spring lilac, the fresh green of lettuce, in the shades of bluebells, the brilliant purple of roses and the gold of campion. And over all was a warm, translucent gleam, an undying radiance. Malasha's eyes were turned towards this rainbow, to the luminous arc sweeping across the sky. Her life was fast ebbing away, seeping out of her body with her blood. Her fingers stiffened, her legs grew cold, her body froze. But all the while her happy eyes looked at the rainbow, at the lustrous path stretching from end to end of the distant heavens. A path of light leading to an unknown destination, a path of happiness in the blue of the heavens which the sun was making brighter and brighter. She was travelling the rainbow path, she, Malasha, the prettiest girl in the village, the best worker on the collective farm. It was about her they had written in the newspapers, for her that the summer nights had been filled with love. There was no longer any ice or snow. The hay rustled under her head, fragrant, redolent of flowers. Somewhere nearby a spring of fresh water was gurgling. The meadow was sweet-smelling. The sound of voices, of girls singing. and of boys' laughter came to her from afar. The silence of the night was broken by an accordion. Her eyes sought the rainbow in the sky, but, no, how could there be a rainbow, it was a summer night. . . . Ivan was laughing merrily. There were his eyes in front of her face, grey eyes beneath black brows. The picture faded, wiped out by nocturnal darkness. But the rainbow had been there, had just been there. She wanted to see it once again, to let her eyes feast on its radiance. With difficulty Malasha raised herself on her elbow. A savage, inhuman pain ran through her, and she fell back again onto the snow. She felt that she was dying, knew that she was dying, and her hands reached up in an endeavour to seize that gay ribband, the rainbow thrown across the sky. But it was only darkness that her fingers grasped. Her eyes, turned towards the sky, became glassy. Her even, white teeth gleamed through her parted lips. Her face set in a strange expression in a smile filled with suffering.
He stared into the distant blue with his one eye as though seeking an answer there. And there he saw the rainbow: a great arc flung from end to end of the horizon, a gleaming ribbon linking heaven and earth. The tender, iridescent hues were glowing. A vague memory glimmered in his befuddled brain: where had he seen such a rainbow? Why, of course, before that snowstorm. . . . What was it the woman had said then? She had claimed that the rainbow was a good omen. Captain Werner groaned. The rainbow was smiling with a joyous radiance. It was a good omen but not for him. The rainbow shone joyously, but he no longer saw it. He had sunk into darkness.
And he saw the rainbow, flung across the heavens in a clear-cut, shining path, a resplendent band, iridescent, with the hues of the tinted fluff blown from flowers, with the pale pink of the wild rose and the crimson of the garden beauty, with pale lilac and woodland violet. It flamed with the gold of sunflower petals and quivered with the tender green of uncurling birch leaves. And all was steeped in a soft, clear glow. From east to west the rainbow arched, joining heaven and earth with a lustrous ribband. Shalov turned to his men. "Forward, march!" With long, rhythmic strides, they marched ahead. The villagers remained on the hilltop. Nobody spoke. The detachment moved off along the road into the limitless expanse of the dazzling white plain, into the glory of the rainbow. The Red Armymen were marching off towards the wisps of smoke in the distance which marked the site of fire-ravaged Levanevka, to villages nestling in the snow-drifts. Gripping their rifles firmly, they marched over Ukrainian soil, trampled on, and strangled by the German yoke. But invincible, inflexible, fighting still. The villagers were silent, painfully silent, as they strained their eyes till tears blinded their vision, watching the soldiers going farther and farther away. Waiting until the detachment melted into the blue distance, into the snowy expanses, into the many-hued, all-embracing glow of the rainbow.

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Минкультуры России
Russian Ministry of Culture

The film 'Rainbow' was based on the story of the Polish writer Wanda Wasilevskaya, written by her under the impression of an unusual natural phenomenon. In the winter of 1941-1942, a rainbow could be observed in German-occupied Ukraine.
The story of a small village, where tragic events unfold under the rainbow, received the Stalin Prize.
And Mark Donskoy, already known for his trilogy about Maxim Gorky, was commissioned to film the work. It is known that the director did not like the story. And so, at his own risk, he decided to rewrite it, filling it with allusions from the New Testament.