Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rooster The Golden Comb


Once upon a time there lived a cat, a thrush, and a rooster The Golden Comb.  They lived in a cottage somewhere in the middle of the forest.  The cat and the thrush chopped wood in the forest, while the rooster The Golden Comb was looking after the cottage.

Every day before leaving the cat and the thrush warned the rooster The Golden Comb,
- We are going to go far away from the house today.  You will be home alone doing chores.  If a fox comes by, you have to be very quiet, so she doesn’t know you are home.  Do not, under any circumstances, look out of the window.

The fox got the wind that the cat and the thrush left the house.  She snuck up to the cottage, sat by the window and sang,
- Rooster, rooster The Golden Comb,
Your buttery head is bored at home,
Look out of the window with your silky chin,
I’ll praise you more and give you beans.

The rooster popped his head right out of the window.  Moving quickly, the fox grabbed the rooster and took off running to her burrow.

The rooster cried,
- Help me, friends, friend cat, friend thrush,
The fox is truly in a rush,
She’s taking me far, far away,
Past all these streams, and hills, and hay.

The cat and the thrush heard the rooster.  They came after the fox.  Having caught up with her, they took the rooster away from her.

A few days later the cat and the thrush needed to go the forest again.  The fire wood was running low.  So, they warned the rooster,
- Well, rooster The Golden Comb, this time we are going even further than the last time.  Whatever you do, do not look out of the window.  If something happens to you, we won’t be able to hear your voice.

A little while after the cat and the thrush left, the fox came by the cottage again.  She sat by the window and sang,
 - Rooster, rooster The Golden Comb,
Your buttery head is bored at home,
Look out of the window with your silky chin,
I’ll praise you more and give you beans.

The rooster sat silently.  He did not move.  He did not peep.

The fox sang some more,
- Some children were hopping,
Wheat grains dropping.
The chickens are pecking,
The roosters are only begging…

The rooster popped his head right out of the window,
- How come the roosters are only begging?

Moving quickly, the fox grabbed the rooster and took off running to her burrow.

The rooster cried,
- Help me, friends, friend cat, friend thrush,
The fox is truly in a rush,
She’s taking me far, far away,
Past all these streams, and hills, and hay.

The cat and the thrush heard the rooster and set off chasing after the fox.  The cat was sprinting, the thrush was flying…  Once they caught up with the fox, the cat clawed, the thrush dabbed until they freed the rooster The Golden Comb.

It wasn’t a week that passed by as the cat and the thrush got ready to go fire wood chopping again.  As they were leaving, they were instructing the rooster,
- Do not listen to the fox!  Do not look out of the window.  We will be so far away from the house that we will not hear you at all.

A little while after the cat and the thrush left, the fox came by the cottage again.  She sat by the window and sang,
 - Rooster, rooster The Golden Comb,
Your buttery head is bored at home,
Look out of the window with your silky chin,
I’ll praise you more and give you beans.

The rooster sat silently.  He did not move.  He did not peep.

The fox sang some more,
- Some children were hopping,
Wheat grains dropping.
The chickens are pecking,
The roosters are only begging…

The rooster still sat silently.

The fox went again,
- Some folks were bored,
Some nuts they poured.
The chickens are pecking,
The roosters are left begging…

The rooster popped his head right out of the window,
- How come the roosters are left begging?

Moving quickly, the fox grabbed the rooster and took off running to her burrow, past the streams, past the hills, past the hay.  All the crying and calling for his friends, didn’t help the rooster this time.  The cat and the thrush were too far away to hear anything.

As they returned home, the cat and the thrush found an empty house.  They were in despair.

The friends followed the fox’s footprints.  The cat was sprinting.  The thrush was flying.  Soon they came to the fox’s burrow.  The cat played harp and sang,
- Play, my harp,
Play my golden strings,
I’m here from afar
To meet my lovely queen.

The fox was listening and got very curious.  She thought to herself, “Who might be playing harp so masterfully?  I must go see!”  With that thought the fox came out of her burrow.

The cat and the thrush got her.  Barely was she able to escape.  She ran as fast as her legs could carry her.

Meanwhile, the cat and the thrush picked up their friend, the rooster The Golden Comb, and took him home.  They lived happily ever after.


THE END

The Cat and The Fox


Once upon a time there lived a man.  That man had a cat.  The cat was such trouble, that the man was sick and tired of him.  So, the man decided to get rid of his cat.  He put his cat in a sack, took the sack to the forest, and left it there.

The Cat found his way out of the sack and after hours of wondering around the forest, he stumbled upon a cottage.  So, he climbed up to the attic and made himself a nice sleep cot. 

During the day, The Cat went to the forest.  He hunted for birds and mice.  He ate well and went back to his cot in the attic of the cottage he stumbled upon.  What a life!

One day The Fox was passing by.  She saw The Cat and admired him, “What a marvelous animal!  I’ve lived in this forest for many years, but never met someone quite like this!”

She bowed and asked The Cat,
- Tell me, fine fellow, who are you?  Where did you come from?  What is your name?

The Cat lifted out of his chest, put his paws on his hips, raised his chin and replied,
- My name is Sir Cat Meowstrong.  I come from the Siberian forests to be a warrior in yours.

- Oh, dear Sir Cat Meowstrong, - said The Fox, - I knew nothing about you and your arrival.  Please, come with me, be a guest at my house.

The Cat agreed without much thought.  So, they went to The Fox’s house for dinner.  The Fox went the great lengths to cook and serve the best for her guest – all the delicacies she had in her cupboard.

While feeding The Cat, The Fox were wondering,
- Sir Cat Meowstrong, are you married?  Are you single?
-Single, - murmured The Cat.
- Oh, how lovely.  I am a bachelorette myself.  Would you take me to be your wife?

The Cat agreed and with that there came joy and celebrations.

The next day The Fox went out to pick up some food.  The Cat stayed home.  The Fox was running around all day, out and about, hunting and picking, searching and sneaking.  She even caught a duck.

On her way home, The Fox bumped into The Wolf.
- Hey, The Fox, - said The Wolf, - give me your duck!
- No, I won’t give you my duck, - The Fox answered.
- Well, I’ll take it from you then.
- If you do anything like that, my Sir Cat Meowstrong will rip you into pieces, - warned The Fox.
- And who might Sir Cat Meowstrong be? – asked The Wolf.
- Didn’t you hear?  He comes from the Siberian forests to be a warrior in ours.  I used to be The Fox bachelorette, but now I am a true warrior’s wife.
- No, I haven’t heard, Mrs. Meowstrong.  Would it be possible to have at least one look at him? - The Wolf wondered.
- Hmm, I don’t know really.  My Sir Cat Meowstrong has bad temper.  If he doesn’t like someone, he eats them right up!  You should cook some lamb and bring it over.  Leave the meat where we can see it and hide in the bushes, so he wouldn’t see you.  Otherwise, you are a dead man!

The Wolf ran off to get the lamb.  The Fox went on to her cottage.

Suddenly, there came The Bear.
- Stop right there, The Fox.  Who is this duck for? - Asked The Bear, - give it to me!
- You should go on your merry way or else I’ll have to tell my Sir Cat Meowstrong – he will rip you into pieces, - warned The Fox.
- Who is Sir Cat Meowstrong? – asked The Bear.
- Didn’t you hear?  He comes from the Siberian forests to be a warrior in ours.  I used to be The Fox bachelorette, but now I am a true warrior’s wife.
- Oh, how can I meet him? - The Bear wondered.
- Hmm, I don’t think it’s a good idea.  My Sir Cat Meowstrong has bad temper.  If he doesn’t like someone, he eats them right up!  You should cook some beef and bring it over.  Leave the meat where we can see it and hide in the bushes, so he wouldn’t see you.  Otherwise, you are a dead man!

The Bear ran off to get the beef.  The Fox went on to her cottage.

At the dusk, The Wolf brought his sheep, tore the skin off and stopped to collect his thoughts, when he saw The Bear with a cow.
- Hello, Misha The Bear.
- Hello, Buddy The Wolf.  Did you see The Fox with her Sir Cat Meowstrong?
- Not yet, Misha, - said The Wolf, - I’m waiting for them myself.
- Why don’t you go talk to them, Buddy The Wolf? – Suggested The Bear.
- No, I can’t – I’m way too slow.  You should go talk to them, - The Wolf said.
- No, I won’t go, - The Bear refused, - I am too fuzzy and clumsy. 

Suddenly, they saw The Hare passing by. The Wolf and The Bear called,
- Hey, Squinty The Hare, come over here!

The Hare stopped, folded his ears.
- You are fast and handy, so go to The Fox’s house.  Tell her that Misha The Bear and Buddy The Wolf are here, ready to meet her husband, Sir Cat Meowstrong.  Say that we are ready to present them with some lamb and some beef.

The Hare ran to The Fox’s  house as fast as he could, while The Bear and The Wolf were looking for hiding spots.  The Bear climbed up a pine tree.  The Wolf hid in the bushes, covered with the dry leaves.  The Bear was looking intently from the top of the tree.  He did not want to miss The Fox and Sir Cat Meowstrong. 

The Hare came to The Fox’s house and proclaimed,
- The Bear and The Wolf sent me to tell you that they were waiting for you and your husband.  They want to present you with some lamb and some beef.
- Go tell them we’ll be right there.

So, The Fox and The Cat came out of their house and walked to get their presents.  The Bear saw them from afar and whispered to The Wolf,
- The warrior seems a bit too small…

Before The Bear could finish his sentence, The Cat saw the meet.  His fur bristled up, his claws came out.  He started ripping the meat with his teeth and his claws, all while purring madly and loudly.

- He is not very big, but his appetite is enormous!  - The Bear said to The Wold, who was still hiding in the bushes, covered with a pile of dry leaves.  The four animals of our size could eat all the meat, but for him this is not enough.  I’m afraid he’ll get to us too.

The Wolf got very curious.  He tried to peek, but he could see nothing through the leaves.  So, The Wolf carefully moved some leaves to the side.  The Cat heard the noise in the leaves and thought it was a mouse.  He jumped and clawed The Wolf right in his face.

Terrified, The Wolf set off running.

The Cat was startled, so he jumped on a tree, climbing higher and higher.  The tree was the same one where The Bear was hiding.

“Oh, no,” – thought The Bear, - “he saw me!”

With no time to climb down, The Bear loosened his paws and fell down to the ground, hitting his kidneys and back.  He gathered all the strength he had left to jump up and took off running.

The Fox yelled to The Wolf and The Bear,
- Run, run away before he gets you!

Since that time all animals in the forest were cautious about The Cat.  Meanwhile, The Fox and The Cat stocked up on meat to last them the long winter.  They lived happily ever after.

THE END

Monday, April 30, 2012

Masha and The Bear


Once upon a time there lived an old woman and an old man.  They had a granddaughter, named Masha.

One day Masha’s friends were going to the forest berry picking.  They asked if Masha wanted to come with them.

- Go, - insisted Masha’s grandmother and grandfather, - but watch out, keep up with your friends, stay with the people.

So, Masha got ready and went with her friends.

There were lots of berries in the forest.  The deeper in the forest they went, the richer were the berry bushes, the juicier were the berries.  Preoccupied with the berry picking, Masha didn’t realize how she wondered off and got left behind.  Lost and scared, she hallooed, but no one was responding.  Masha turned around and went in the direction she thought could lead her home.

Suddenly, The Bear appears in front of her.  He picked her up and carried away, while Masha was cried, frightened.

***

Masha’s friends returned to the village.  They told Masha’s grandparents the story about losing the sight of their granddaughter, about trying to find her to no avail. 

The following day the old woman and the old man went to the forest to look for their granddaughter.  They searched high and low.  They looked under each bush and searched in every burrow.  There were no signs of Masha. 

Every day for weeks Masha’s grandparents were returning to the forest.  They left no stone unturned, trying to find her, but came home empty-handed every day.  Eventually, they decided that Masha was gone forever.  Anguished and sorry, they stopped searching.

***

Meanwhile, The Bear brought Masha to his cottage in the deepest part of the forest. 
- Stop crying, I won’t eat you, – he assured the girl. – It’s lonely out here.  I need a company.

Crying won’t help, so Masha accepted the fact that she had to stay with The Bear, but she started thinking of a plan to escape.

The Bear was delighted to have Masha.  He brought her berries, honey, and snow peas from the forest, but the girl wasn’t happy.
- Why are unhappy, – The Bear asked her.
- What is there for me to be happy about? How can I not be sad?  My grandparents must think that I was eaten by a bear.  Would you take some pies to them from me, so they know I’m still alive?

The Bear agreed.  He brought a large bucket of flour for Masha to bake some pies.  Masha was working all day, baking and cooking, making the whole cottage smell delicious.  When she was done, there was a tub full of pies.  The Bear found the biggest basket backpack, so all the baked goodies would fit nicely.

Before The Bear hit the road Masha sat him down and instructed,
- As you carry these pies to my grandma and grandpa, you must not eat them yourself.  All of these pies need to reach my grandparents.  No looksie, no touchie.  Understand?  I will be watching you from the hills, so I’ll know if you try to sneak some.

She asked The Bear go check if it’s raining outside.  While he was out, the girls jumped in his basket backpack and closed the lid.  The Bear put the backpack on and set off.

It was a long walk to the village.  The road went through the birch trees, by the pine trees; it came down hill, and then went back up.  The Bear was getting tired.  So, he said,
- What a heavy load I carry!  Sitting down on this stump, I should get myself some snack.

Masha heard him right from the basket, so she yelled,
- I see, I see what you are trying to do. No sitting on a stump, no eating my grandparents snack.  Bring these pies to my grandma.  Bring them to my grandpa.

The Bear growled, but got up and kept moving, noting to himself,
- What a vision! She is sitting high, she is seeing far.

It was still a long walk ahead to get to the village. The road went through the birch trees, by the pine trees; it came down hill, and then went back up.  The Bear was getting tired.  So, he said,
- What a heavy load I carry!  Sitting down on this stump, I should get myself some snack.

Having heard these words, Masha yelled loudly,
- I see, I see what you are trying to do. No sitting on a stump, no eating my grandparents snack.  Bring these pies to my grandma.  Bring them to my grandpa.

The Bear growled, but got up and kept moving, noting to himself,
- What a vision! She is sitting high, she is seeing far.

Here was the village.  The Bear came to Masha’s grandparents’ house and knocked on the door.  Their dog started barking with its all might.  The neighbors’ dogs heard the noise and also started barking.

As soon as the door opened, The Bear threw the basked down and took off running.  The dogs came after him.  He barely made it to the forest safely.

The old woman and the old man came closer to the basket, wondering what it could be.  Masha opened the lid and came out, alive and healthy.  The elders couldn’t believe their eyes.  They gave her hugs and kisses. 

Reunited at last, they lived happily ever after.


THE END

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Magic Swan Geese


Once upon a time there lived a husband and wife.  They had two children – a daughter, named Masha, and a son, named Vanya.  Masha was going on ten years of age. Vanya was only two.

One day dad and mom got ready to go away to the city.  They were leaving their daughter to watch after herself and her brother.  So, they advised her,
- Don’t leave the house.  Keep your brother in sight at all times.  In turn we will bring you a treat from the city.

Masha was listening to her parents very closely, nodding occasionally, but as soon as they left, she sat her brother on the grass by the house and ran off to play.  Once Vanya was left alone, there came the magic swan geese.  They picked up the child with their wings and flew away toward the forest.

After playing with her friends for some time, Masha remembered to check on her brother.  She ran home to find an empty house.  Her little brother was gone.

Terrified, Masha broke in tears.  She called her brother’s name, looked all over, but wherever she looked he was nowhere in sight.

As she was looking to the sky, there was a flock of geese, flying toward the forest in a hurry.  That moment the girl realized that those geese were the magic swan geese and they took her little brother away.

Masha took off on a journey to rescue Vanya.  She was following the magic swan geese as long as she could see them in the sky.  Soon, however, they disappeared from her view.  Where would she go now?

Masha stopped and hopelessly sighed.  She didn’t know what to do next.  She looked around.  No one was in sight, but a large brick oven.  The girl came up to the oven and asked,
- Brick oven, tell me where the magic swan geese are flying to.
- Have some of my rye pies, dear guest, and I will tell you, - answered the brick oven.
To that Masha replied,
- Why, I don’t eat rye pies!  At home I eat only wheat pies with butter.

Having said those words, the girl ran on.

The problem was that Masha still didn’t know where she needed to go.  She looked around.  No one was in sight, but a tall apple tree.  The girl came up to the tree and asked,
- Apple tree, tell me where the magic swan geese are flying to.
- Have my wild apple, don’t object, and I will tell you, - answered the apple tree.
- Why, I won’t eat such sourness!  At home I eat only orchard apples with honey.

Having said those words, the girl ran on.  She ran fast, but wasn’t sure if she was running in the right direction.  She still didn’t know where those magic swan geese flew.  She looked around.  No one was in sight, but a milky river with jelly banks.  The girl came up to the river and asked,
- Milky river, tell me where the magic swan geese are flying to.
- Have some of my jelly with milk, then I will tell you, - answered the river.
- I don’t want any jelly and milk!  I hardly ever would drink cream at my parents’ house let along milk.
With these words, Masha kept on running.  She ran and ran, but had no idea if she was getting closer or running away even further from where the geese took her brother.  She looked around and saw nothing, but a little cottage on a chicken leg, spinning around in the middle of the darkest, thickest brushwood.

- Cottage, turn and stop as if selected, turn and stop as was erected, - demanded Masha loudly.

The cottage turned and stopped with its door side facing Masha.  The girl sneaked in and found her little brother.  He was sitting on the bench, playing with some juicy apples.  The magic swan geese took Vanya to the house of Madam Yaga.

Vanya saw Masha too and almost screamed her name, but Masha placed her forefinger to her lips, so her brother wouldn’t give her away.  Next to Vanya was Madam Yaga, snoozing by her spinning wheel.  Madam Yaga’s face was wrinkled and covered in warts.  Her crooked nose was drooping over her mean scowl.  Her long filthy nails were sharp and scary.  On her shoulder there was an owl sitting, not sleeping, looking around, and watching intently.

- Hello, Madam, - said Masha.

Madam Yaga opened her eyes and gave Masha a vicious glare.

- Hello, an unwanted guest.  What brings you here? – Madam Yaga asked.
- I got lost in the forest.  After walking for hours my feet can’t carry me any further.  I’m hungry…  Let me stay at your house, get some rest.
- Very well, - said Madam Yaga, - you may finish my porridge.  For that you must work on my spinning wheel.

Madam Yaga said those words and left the room along with her owl.

Once Madam Yaga was gone, a little mouse came out from under the stove.  The mouse begged,
- Little girl, little girl, give me some porridge.

Masha found the left over porridge on the top of the stove.  She found a spoon.  So, she gave some porridge to the mouse.  The mouse ate up the porridge and as if to repay for Masha kindness revealed a secret,
- Run away from here as fast as you can.  Take the boy with you too.  Madam Yaga fired up her big bath house.  She will wash you up and eat you both!  There is very little time.  You must hurry!

Without delay Masha grabbed her little brother in her arms and took off running. 

Meanwhile, Madam Yaga came by the window of the room, where Masha was working. 
- Are you working on my spinning wheel, girl? – Madam Yaga asked.
- Oh, I do, Madam.  I’m working very hard, - the mouse answered as it was finishing the porridge.

As soon as the bathhouse was hot enough Madam Yaga came to get the girl, but the house was empty.  Both children were gone.  So, Madam Yaga called for her magic swan geese,
- My magic swan geese, you must fly after the children!  The girl took the little boy and ran away.  You must catch them!  You must bring them back or else!

As Masha and Vanya were running through the forest they heard the noise of the flying magic swan geese. 
Luckily, there was the milky river with the jelly banks that Masha had seen earlier that day.  The girl picked up her little brother and ran to the milky river with jelly banks, crying,
- Dear milky river, please hide us!
- Have some of my jelly with milk and I will hide you, - the river answered.

As fast as she could, Masha drank some milk and ate some jelly.  So, the river covered Masha and Vanya with its banks.  The geese missed them as they flew by.

Masha and Vanya took off running.  Not long after the children thought they got away, they heard the noise of the approaching magic swan geese.

Luckily, there was the apple tree that Masha had seen earlier that day.  The girl picked up her little brother and ran up to the tree, begging,
- Dear apple tree, please save us!
- Eat my wild apples and I will save you, - the tree answered.

As fast as she could, Masha chewed up an apple.  So, the tree covered the children with its leafy branches.  The geese didn’t see anyone as they flew by.

Masha and Vanya took off running.  Not long after the children thought they got away, there came the noise of the magic swan geese.  The noise was so loud – the geese were very close.

Luckily, there was the brick oven that Masha had seen earlier that day.  The girl wrapped her arms around her little brother and ran up to the oven, pleading,
- Oh, darling oven, please hide my little brother and I.
- Have some of my rye pies and get inside, - the oven answered.

As fast as she could, Masha ate a couple of rye pies and jumped inside the oven with Vanya.  The geese flew by and missed them.

Masha and Vanya took off running again.  There were just a few feet to their house as they heard the loud noise of the magic swan geese.  The geese were biting the children’s feet.  Masha and Vanya barely made it to their house.  They closed the door.  Safe at once, the children breathed with relief. 

The geese circled round and round above the house, but couldn’t get the children.  Restless, the birds left, returning to Madam Yaga empty-handed. 

Soon enough Masha and Vanya’s parents came home.  They brought a bunch of presents for both children, but Masha received the most precious gift of all – a special scarf to tie around her head.

THE END