The Atlantic Monthly julkaisi toukokuussa 1864 matkakertomuksen A cruise on Lake Ladoga, jossa anonymisoidut P, Q ja R matkustavat höyrylaiva Valamolla Pietarista Sortavalaan. August Schaumanin muistelmien mukaan Valamo oli aloittanut liikennöintinsä vuonna 1845 eli matkan ajoitus jää varsin epätarkaksi.
Ensimmäinen yöpyminen oli Konevitsassa, jossa matkalaiset näkivät tarpeelliseksi tutustua Hevoskiveen (Konj-kamen, Конь-камень), josta en ollut koskaan kuullutkaan. Wikipedian mukaan se on ollut karjalaisten pakanallinen uhripaikka ja sijaitsee noin kilometrin luostarista pohjoiskoilliseen Pyhävuoren länsirinteen juurella.
|Hevoskivi 2000-luvulla. Kuvaaja AB, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia|
The captain promised to leave for Kexholm at eight, which left us only an hour for a visit to the Konkamen, or Horse-Rock, distant a mile, in the woods. P. engaged as guide a long-haired acolyte, who informed us that he had formerly been a lithographer in St. Petersburg. We did not ascertain the cause of his retirement from the world: his features were too commonplace to suggest a romance. Through the mist, which still hung heavy on the lake, we plunged into the fir-wood, and hurried on over its uneven carpet of moss and dwarf whortleberries. Small gray boulders then began to crop out, and gradually became so thick that the trees thrust them aside as they grew. All at once the wood opened on a rye-field belonging to the monks, and a short turn to the right brought us to a huge rock, of irregular shape, about forty feet in diameter by twenty in height. The crest overhung the base on all sides except one, up which a wooden staircase led to a small square chapel perched upon the summit.
The legends attached to this rock are various, but the most authentic seems to be, that in the ages when the Carelians were still heathen, they were accustomed to place their cattle upon this island in summer, as a protection against the wolves, first sacrificing a horse upon the rock. Whether their deity was the Perun of the ancient Russians or the Jumala of the Finns is not stated; the inhabitants at the present day say, of course, the Devil. The name of the rock may also be translated "Petrified Horse," and some have endeavored to make out a resemblance to that animal, in its form. Our acolyte, for instance, insisted thereupon, and argued very logically—"Why, if you omit the head and legs, you must see that it is exactly like a horse." The peasants say that the Devil had his residence in the stone, and point to a hole which he made, on being forced by the exorcisms of Saint Arsenius to take his departure. A reference to the legend is also indicated in the name of the island, Konewitz,—which our friend, the officer, gave to me in French as Chevalisé, or, in literal English, The Horsefied.
The stones and bushes were dripping from the visitation of the mist, and the mosquitoes were busy with my face and hands while I made a rapid drawing of the place. The quick chimes of the monastery, through which we fancied we could hear the warning boat-bell, suddenly pierced through the forest, recalling us. The Valamo had her steam up, when we arrived, and was only waiting for her rival, the Letuchie (Flyer), to get out of our way. As we moved from the shore, a puff of wind blew away the fog, and the stately white monastery, crowned with its bunch of green domes, stood for a moment clear and bright in the morning sun. Our pilgrims bent, bareheaded, in devotional farewell; the golden crosses sparkled an answer, and, the fog rushed down again like a falling curtain.