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.