In a forest 20 kilometres away from Brest stands a row of houses, where beekeepers live. They lead a real life of farmers keeping cows, growing vegetables and working in the bee-garden. Nothing seemed to have had enough power to change this tranquil and undisturbed way of life out in the country. But then 25 years ago a new director arrived to head the bee-garden. His name was Vladimir Philippovich. Suddenly, it became clear that this man did not sleep at home as all law-abiding citizens should do. Boys once followed him and found out that deep in the forest he constructed a small house 6 metres off the ground amid the pine branches, where he spent nights. It was decided not to call for a shrink, but the director was asked to give an explanation.
Vladimir Denisovich told that he came from the Ural region, where he used to hold an important post, to Belarus for the sake of climate alone. At 37 he was diagnosed as having a heart problem. Medicine did not seem to help and the health condition was deteriorating under the influence of the local climate. Belarus and its clement climes were the ideal place for him. In addition, working in a bee-garden is a trade promoting peace of mind, the value that the previous job did not provide. Besides, honey known for its miraculous qualities. Having a spoonful of honey each morning before breakfast helped him recover from irregularity of pulse in six months. However, he started suffering from splitting headaches. He remembered that his father, who died at 98, would spend a couple of hours a day sitting under a pine-tree in the forest. The son decided to beat his father. For the last 25 years he has been sleeping in the forest whatever the weather. The floor in his pine-house is covered with sheep´s hide.
And headaches were gone… Now Vladimir Denisovich is a 77-year old retiree. I have come across him twice in Brest. First I saw him slicing the ice of the skating ring and second — at a track-and-field competition.
"I am trying to participate in all mass competitions to promote a healthy lifestyle," our hero gives his comments. "I can already converted my village neighbours into my religion, now it´s time to do the same in the city."
To be fair, I should point out that none of the village neighbours ventured to climb a pine-tree to have a nap. Not all of them substituted cows with goats on Philippovich´s advice. The spiritual leader himself has a stock of ten goats. He does not need so much milk and he gives the excess milk to the neighbours thus teaching them to drink goat´s milk, which is characterised by numerous healing properties. The untiring neighbour also sees to it that his villagers store enough birch juice and eat triticale and wheat sprouts.
No, he cannot leave his friends in peace.
"I still visit the bee-garden, share my experience and get nice treatment. I put my hand in the hive to get stung by two bees at least." The old man shows me his hand, but I see no sting traces. Today, 320 bee queens from Mukachev were brought to give fresh blood. They have already laid eggs, which means those, who want to buy real Transcarpathian bee families can come here for highly productive material. The Belarusians who suffered from the Chernobyl catastrophe must eat honey every day. Nature has invented nothing better so far. They say that health cannot be purchased, but only is taken as payment. This is not so.
Beekeeper Vladimir Philippovich has been sleeping on a pine-tree smelling conifer for 25 years