In 1867, a young officer of the Russian army Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsky went on an expedition to the Ussuri region. The graduate of the General Staff Academy has long been attracted by the eastern outskirts of the Russian State. He chose the Military Statistical Review of the Amur Territory as the topic for his term paper at the Academy, after which he was admitted to the Russian Geographical Society and had the opportunity to explore the Far East.
Przewalski's vigorous research activities required considerable expenses, which were not always covered from the treasury. We had to look for additional sources of funding. The traveler was helped by his amazing ability. People who knew Nikolai Mikhailovich closely noted his phenomenal memory. He could memorize the text he read in whole pages, and he remembered it even years later.
In his youth, Przewalski used his talent in a card game. His remarkable memory allowed him to win large sums; Nikolai Mikhailovich practically did not lose. For his card victories, the young man received the nickname Golden Pheasant. So the traveler decided in the winter of 1868 to replenish the expedition's funds with his old passion.
Przhevalsky took 500 rubles with him and went to play. Having doubled the amount, that is, having received 1, 000 rubles, he stopped playing and left. Within a short time, the prize amounted to more than 12, 000 rubles. At this time, the long-awaited news came from St. Petersburg to send Nikolai Mikhailovich's expedition to Central Asia. The money won came in very handy to the meager funds allocated from the budget.
This was the last card luck of the famous explorer: he threw cards into Cupid and never touched them again.
Alas, Nikolai Mikhailovich was not as lucky in everything as he was in cards. The traveler died due to his own oversight. In 1888, Przhevalsky, while hunting in the Asian steppes, drank raw river water, although he himself always strictly forbade all members of his expedition to do this. Infected with typhoid fever, Nikolai Mikhailovich died a few days later.
They buried him on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, as the traveler himself bequeathed. Soldiers from the Przewalski expedition had to dig hard rocky soil for two days. Two coffins were made, the inner one was made of wood and the outer one, for strength it was made of iron.