©Jane H.

Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
Flamy the Dragonet
Dmitrii Emets
Translated from Russian
Jane H. Buckingham
Translation edited by
Shona Brandt
Illustrations by
Viktoria Timofeea
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter #ne
Late in the evening, when Masha was already asleep, the
plush bunnies Sineus and Truvor
were celebrating their first
birthday in a box under her bed. The bunnies were twins, and if
it were not for a spot of watercolour on Sineus ear and blac!
threads sewn on Truvors tail, it would not be possible to tell
the" apart.
The cat Muffin, the doll #lga, and the red$haired baby boy
doll %oo!ar were the bunnies guests.
#lga was not a slender &arbie, but a respectable 'ussian doll
with strong ar"s and legs and big blue eyes. (hen she was
turned upside down, she got scared and cried, )Ma$"a*+ There is
nothing surprising about that. If you, dear reader, were turned
upside down, you would also begin to call for "a"a or even a
police"an. #lga did everything in the world correctly. She would always say )than! you+
and )please+ and only occasionally "ixed the" up. )Than! give "e candy*+ or )%lease
you for lunch*+ ca"e out of #lga then.
The bunnies other guest, the red$haired baby boy doll
%oo!ar, belonged to the type that always wal!s around with
undone laces, scraped !nees, and a blac! eye. ,is red hair
was tousled, his turned$up nose loo!ed at the world with
two cheerful holes, and frec!les were scattered across his
%oo!ar was dressed in a deni" -ac!et with a lot of
poc!ets. two at the botto", two on top, and one at the bac!.
Masha, the seven$year$old girl in whose roo" the toys lived,
"ade hi" the -ac!et. It had "any poc!ets, but there is only
one %oo!ar and he could never re"e"ber where he put
The bunnies Sineus and Truvor were fidgeting on their stools. )(hen will &irthday
co"e/ (hy hasnt he/+
),es probably delayed in school,+ %oo!ar decided.
)(hat is school/+ The bunnies were curious.
0ccording to the 11
century %ri"ary 2hronicle, the history of 3ievan 'us4 fro" c. 556 to 1116, Sineus
and Truvor were brothers of 'uri!, the founder of the 'uri! 7ynasty that ruled 3ievan 'us4 until the 18
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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)(ell...er... how to tell you, doll/ School is a place where there are "any girls, and
they pounce on you and s:uee;e you all the ti"e. I went there with Masha,+ %oo!ar
The cat Muffin shivered. )&rr* They s:uee;e* I cant stand it. They s"udge your fur
and then you have to lic! it clean*+
)&ut I li!ed it* S:uee;es are nicer than baths. &esides, baths are si"ply a waste of
the gift of ti"e because you get dirty later all the sa"e,+ %oo!ar stated.
)%hew, what a slob you are*+ The doll #lga wrin!led her nose.
%oo!ar was offended. )<oure a slob* =ow Ill hit you on the forehead*+ he said.
)=ot nice to hit girls*+ the cat Muffin re"inded hi".
)So its not nice*+ %oo!ar agreed. )&ut fun*+
#lga threatened %oo!ar with an i"pressive fist. )>ust let hi" try* I" a big doll, but
hes a "ere undersi;ed baby doll, al"ost a tu"bler*+
The :uarrel could easily have turned into a fight, but then the bunnies intervened.
)0rent you asha"ed/ Todays our birthday*+ they said and, loo!ing at each other,
sul!ed again. Sineus and Truvor did everything synchronously.
%oo!ar and #lga turned red and "ade peace for so"e ti"e. In fact, they were good
friends, and that they s:uabbled ? so who does not s:uabble/ >ust that %oo!ars
character was "ean, and #lga, I "ust say, was no sweetheart either.
)<ou pro"ised that &irthday will co"e to us today... &ut hes still not here* Turns
out you tric!ed us*+ the bunnies said and began to sniffle a bit.
If you loo! at it, they had a good reason for this. 0nd it is true what nonsense had
occurred. the guests argued and al"ost ca"e to blows, the table was not set, and
&irthday was still not there. The only thing left to do was cry.
%oo!ar si"ple$"indedly decided to console the". )@ollow the exa"ple :uietly,
rabbit hats* @eet together, ears apart* 0nd all s"ile pro"ptly* (hoever cries, retrains at
the pet shop to beco"e a porpoise*+ he said.
Sineus and Truvor, always ta!ing everything literally, started to tre"ble -ust in case,
and were ready to hide under their stools.
)Stop it, %oo!ar* 0nd you get out, co"e on* &irthday co"es when everybody sits
down at the table and begins to drin! tea. Its always so,+ the cat Muffin cal"ed the
Sineus and Truvor :uieted down and obediently wiped each others wet nose. The
doll #lga put the !ettle on and pulled out candies. The bunnies attac!ed the chocolate at
once and s"udged the"selves all the way up to their ears.
%oo!ar loo!ed at the candy with s:uea"ish thoughtfulness. ,e had tuc!ed away a
whole -ar of -a" even before dinner. )I dont want any*+ he stated.
)=obodys offering the" to you,+ #lga re"ar!ed casually.
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)Is that so, doll/ Then Ill ta!e it -ust to spite you*+ %oo!ar said and started to stuff
candies into his poc!ets.
In the "eanti"e, the !ettle was boiling.
)Teas ready. (ho will pour it/+ #lga as!ed.
The bunnies roused the"selves happily. They were filled with responsibility.
)(e will* (e will*+ they shouted and toppled the !ettle onto #lgas !nees.
@ortunately, dolls are less afraid of boiling water than people.
)(e poured tea* >ust as you as!ed*+ Sineus and Truvor boasted.
#lga loo!ed with horror at the wet he" of her dress. )<ou dont pour it there,
fool...eh$eh...little fools*+
)#h* (e have no tea* &irthday wont co"e now. Sorry, #lga* (ere so unhappy*+
The bunnies started to cry.
The cat Muffin slapped their paws encouragingly. )=onsense* (e can boil "ore
water. %oo!ar and I will get water fro" the a:uariu"*+
The a:uariu", which the cat loved to conte"plate thoughtfully, stood on Mashas
des!. ,ere %oo!ar could not restrain hi"self and proposed to boil the entire a:uariu"
instead of getting the water with the !ettle.
)The fishes* (hat will happen to the"/+ #lga as!ed fearfully.
%oo!ar shrugged. )=othing will happen to the". Muffin will eat the fishes. (ell$
"ade tea with fish is her favourite dish.+
Muffin pondered seriously. )It wouldnt be bad, of course, but
Masha would be upset. She li!es the fishes. &esides, if I were to eat
the" now, then "y hope of eating the" later will disappear,+ she
said uncertainly.
)(ell, best ene"y of the dog, you convinced "e* (e wont boil
the a:uariu". >ust ta!e a little bit of water. The fishes wont be
worse off. Lets go, cat*+ %oo!ar agreed easily, heading to the table.
,is co"pliance alar"ed #lga. )=o* Ill go with you. #therwise,
youll play so"e "ean tric! without "e*+ she said with suspicion.
)Ah, no* (ell "anage so"ehow* 'oa"ing at night isnt
so"ething for a girl. &esides, you have big feet and you sto"p. 0nd
watch you dont eat all the candyB I !now you, send us off as you
have your eyes on the",+ said %oo!ar.
#lga flared up and pounced on hi". )#h, you bad baby doll*
So"e day youll bug "e and Ill rip all your ears off* Then let Masha sew the" bac! on*+
%oo!ar spat sullenly. )(ith threads/+ he said.
)(ith threads.+
)The ears/+
)The ears.+
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%oo!ar loo!ed at her for a long ti"e and then shoo! his head. )%hooey, doll, what
sic!ly fantasies you have*+ he said.
Then %oo!ar cli"bed onto the cat, and Muffin crept out stealthily fro" under the
<ou, of course, notice how terrible a roo" beco"es at night. The "ost fa"iliar
things loo! sinister. 0 shirt on the bac! of a chair flutters and rese"bles a person, who
ca"e in for no !nown reason, found a seat, and sits and loo!s at you for so"e reason.
The light outside the window casting sinister shadows on the walls/ The rustling in the
Muffin and %oo!ar were also afraid at first and they i""ediately wanted to turn
bac!. ,owever, after watching closely, they saw that the roo" loo!ed cal" and sleepy.
#n the bed, curled up under a blan!et, Masha was sleeping and having good drea"s.
The fishes were sleeping in the a:uariu" on the table. The flowers were sleeping in the
pots on the windowsill. Life is indeed not so terrible if you exa"ine it.
The cat Muffin leaped onto the des! with the grace of a truc! transporting scrap
"etal. She was a do"estic cat and conse:uently rather clu"sy. Still, it was good that no
one wo!e up.
#nce on the des!, %oo!ar cli"bed down fro" the cat, pic!ed up the !ettle, and
began to get water fro" the a:uariu". ,e also accidentally scooped up a couple of fish
and had to put the" bac!.
)%ush their way in here, how brash* =o sha"e, no conscience* >ust li!e "e*+ %oo!ar
gru"bled. #ne would thin! that he did not co"e to the fishes with a !ettle, but they to
The cat Muffin -u"ped down fro" the des!, "anaging not to spill the water, and
they were both in the box with the toys a "inute later. Averybody sat at the table and
started to have tea with ca!e. #lga had "ade the ca!e on the play stove earlier during
the day, but hid it so that %oo!ar would not find it. Muffin did not have ca!e, in order to
!eep her figure. She declared that one needed to be careful with ca!es, and that one of
the cats she !new had put on so "uch weight that she got stuc! in the doorway.
The centre of the ca!e with a single candle because the bunnies were only a year old,
went to Sineus and Truvor. They swelled up li!e a balloon and blew out the candle for
luc!. Averyone pulled the bunnies ears and gave the" gifts. The cat Muffin gave the"
carrots, %oo!ar a fat boo! of 'ussian fairy tales. #lga had "ade for the bunnies war"
!nitted hats with openings for the ears.
Then everyone was again busy with the ca!e. It turned out to be surprisingly tasty.
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)I approve, doll* This ti"e youve clearly "anaged so"ething edible by accident,+
%oo!ar praised #lga. )#nly you du"ped too "any calories in there.+
)=o calories there* #nly flour, sugar, eggs, and nothing "ore,+ #lga too! offence.
)(ait a "inute* Lets find out... <ou say that there are no calories but I feel that
there are. It "eans they s:uee;ed in there on the sly when you turned away.+
Sineus and Truvor started to tre"ble. )#h* (ere scared*+
)0d"it it, %oo!ar* <ou -ust "ade up those calories*+ #lga was "ad. She could not
stand it when they :uestioned her culinary s!ill.
%oo!ar narrowed his eyes. )Made it up/* (hat is Mashas "a"a struggling with,
then/ (hat is it shes scared of li!e fire/+
)Shes scared of calories. (hat else if not calories*+ Muffin stopped washing for a
%oo!ar stared triu"phantly at #lga and bent over the ca!e. )Listen, bunnies* (or!
the" big ears. So"ethings scratching in there. Its all of the", calories* Theyre going to
The doll #lga blin!ed her blue eyes. )#h* (hat will happen to us now/+
)Thats -ust it,+ %oo!ar threw up his hands. )(ell, so be it, Ill save you fro" the evil
of calories. They dont scare courageous "e. Ill eat the whole ca!e by "yself.+
%oo!ar was already stretching his hands to the ca!e, but Muffin said, )7ont believe
hi", little fools* ,e tric!ed you. 2alories arent dangerous for sli" little !ids, but
Mashas "a"a can do perfectly well without the". #therwise, soon only the
hand!erchiefs fro" her whole wardrobe will fit her.+
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!ha"ter T*o
( B&+ TR&, (R#$%D ( S-(.. (,(RT-E%T
%oo!ar loved to discover new corners of the apart"ent, the ones which none of the
toys had wandered to earlier. ,e was not one that could sit in one place for three days or
even three "inutes. ,e had to be constantly running so"ewhere, arranging so"ething,
exploring so"ething. In short, this was the "ost restless baby boy doll in the world.
#ne spring "orning, when Masha had gone to school and her parents to wor!, the
doll #lga was teaching the bunnies Sineus and Truvor the alphabet. #lga herself already
!new the alphabet and could write all of the letters except (.
)This is the letter 0,+ #lga showed the". )It loo!s li!e 0... Enderstand/ This is the
letter E, it loo!s li!e E.+ #lga was a born teacher.
)0nd the letter 7 loo!s li!e 7/+ the bunnies as!ed.
)I thin! so,+ the doll answered after so"e hesitation. )Say what you li!e, but
education doesnt pass you by without a trace.+
The lid of a box "oved aside and %oo!ar appeared in full field dress. ,e was dressed
in a sheeps!in coat buttoned up to the chin and on his head was a pot. ,e was holding a
bottle$opener in his hands, in case he "et -ars of -a" along the way.
),ello, hello*+ he shouted to the bunnies.
),i, %oo!ar* (here are you going/+ the bunnies responded.
)I" going on a hi!e. I" thin!ing of exploring a couple of new continents and
finding out along the way where these greedy people hide their candies.+
),ow interesting* (ere co"ing with you,+ Sineus and Truvor exclai"ed.
)&ut were learning the alphabet,+ #lga ob-ected.
)Freat discoveries wont wait while you learn so"e letters. =o ti"e to lose.
,u"anity suffers*+ %oo!ar declared. ,e had a deter"ined loo!. The pot on his head
loo!ed li!e a !nights hel"et. The hero was so eager towards a feat. Aven #lga was
fascinated, let alone the bunnies*
They decided to set off on the -ourney without delay and all together. If great
discoveries could not wait, then the discoverer could even less so. %oo!ar was consu"ed
with i"patience, shifting fro" foot to foot and itching for adventures.
0s for #lga, despite being sei;ed by all the excite"ent, she "anaged to "a!e a
couple of do;en sandwiches for the road. #lga was a s"art girl doll and !new that brave
heroes needed nourishing food.
Then the friends too! to the field. %oo!ar, with the bottle$opener in hand, stepped
in front. &ehind hi" hopped the bunnies. The doll #lga brought up the rear, loaded with
a bac!pac! of sandwiches.
It is possible to find :uite a few new things everywhere if the search is done well.
Aven in the usual three$roo" apart"ent with a separate washroo", glassed$in balcony,
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!itchen, and closet, "iracles so"eti"es happen. 0nyone who has ever done general
cleanup at least once in life learns this. @ro" so"ewhere out of non$existence crop up
things that see"ed to have been lost long ago. old shirts with change in the poc!ets,
boo!s without covers, co"bs, all !inds of !nic!$!nac!s, and "uch, "uch "ore.
),ey, %oo!ar*+ #lga shouted, catching up with hi" and tugging his sleeve. )(hat
are we discovering this ti"e/ (eve li!ely cli"bed over all the roo"s.+
)The closet/ I dont !now what "ore is in it. secrets or -ars of -a"* Those and others
are -ust waiting to be discovered*+ %oo!ar yelled excitedly. ,e started waving his hands
and brushed against Sineus nose with the bottle$opener.
0fter waiting until the bunny had stopped whining, %oo!ar "otioned everyone to
co"e closer. )0 terrible secret is even connected with this closet*+ he whispered, loo!ing
around "ysteriously. Sineus and Truvor s:uir"ed with curiosity.
)So"eone is living in the closet* I heard sighs and a cough. %robably so"e distant
relative, loc!ed up in the closet and forgotten. 0nd she barricaded herself and waits to
pounce on so"ebody*+
)M$"aybe we wont go there/+ The bunnies were tre"bling.
#lga loo!ed sideways at %oo!ar with distrust. )<ou "ade it all up, %oo!ar* <oure a
!nown drea"er and liar*+
%oo!ar sul!ed. )(ell, doll... ti"e will tell. So"eday Ill be fa"ous and youll be
asha"ed that you underesti"ated "e.+
It was dar! in the hallway. #nly a few rays of light shone through the crac!s. 7ust
danced in the air. It first flew to the ceiling, then, stic!ing together in light white fla!es,
settled on the floor. It see"ed li!e it was snowing.
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)0$a$a$ahchoo**+ #ne of the bunnies snee;ed, see"ingly Truvor. The explorers gave
a start and sat down in surprise.
%oo!ar put a finger to his lips. )S$shhh* The storage relative will hear us*+ The
bunnies nodded obediently, and even #lga, opening her "outh to ob-ect to %oo!ar, for
so"e reason !ept :uiet.
Snea!ing along the hallway, the brave travellers reached the closet. =o sound
reached the" fro" there.
)(ell explore*+ %oo!ar whispered, pressing his ear to the door. )The relative "ust
be hiding... 0nd then ? ,EM* ? shell attac!*+ %oo!ar showed precisely how wild
uncontrolled relatives rush. It loo!ed so pro"ising that Sineus and Truvor clung to each
other and started crying.
)So"ehow I hear nothing* She "ust be lur!ing so :uietly that she isnt even
breathing* (e !now these tric!s* (hat a sly one* Lets scare her away*+ %oo!ar
#n %oo!ars signal, everyone started to yell as they could. )0wooo*+ #lga howled.
)#ho$ho$ho*+ the bunnies shouted softly, hoping in the depths of their souls that there
was no trace of any relative in the closet. ),oo$hoo$hoo*+ %oo!ar "ade a deep scary
sound. ),oo$hoo$hoo*+
=othing happened, only dust whirled around in the corners. %oo!ar got up on his
toes and reached for the door!nob. The door crea!ed. The toys went inside. The bunnies
hung on fir"ly to the doll #lgas dress and pulled with all their strength, they were so
)7ont get under foot, little cowards* Theres absolutely nothing to be afraid of,+
#lga straightened the" out.
It was dar! in the s"all roo". It s"elled of old things and "othballs. Flass -ars of
-a" glea"ed on the upper shelves. %oo!ar switched on a flashlight. The ray pic!ed out
the frightened bunnies and #lgas white apron fro" the dar!ness.
Sineus too! a step to the side and bu"ped his foot painfully. )Ma"a* So"ethings
here*+ he s:uea!ed.
@u"bling with the flashlight, %oo!ar found a big wooden trun!. It loo!ed very old.
It was unclear how the trun! could co"e to be in a city apart"ent on the ninth floor.
)(ow*+ %oo!ar was delighted. )(ell, a trun!* ,ow did it "anage to hide fro" "e
for so long/+
#lga carefully passed a hand over the lid of the trun!, accented with copper. )This is
great$grand"as trun!. Masha told "e. It was brought fro" the village and never
opened. The !ey was lost.+
)Fosh* (heres "y beloved bottle$opener/ (ant to bet I can brea! open this
"ysterious box in a -iffy/+ %oo!ar was filled with enthusias".
)<ou always want to brea! everything*+ #lga threw up her hands.
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It was i"possible to stop %oo!ar. ,e too! a run, pic!ed up the bottle$opener, and
"ade up his "ind with a running start to bash the loc! of the trun!. The bunnies hid
behind the doll #lga and peeped out fro" beneath her s!irt. The "o"ent %oo!ar hit the
loc! with the opener, so"eone snee;ed in the trun! so that the lid -u"ped. %oo!ar
dropped the bottle$opener. #lga and the bunnies sat down on the floor in surprise.
)So"eones in the trun!* L$lets r$run*+ the bunnies whispered.
)%robably -ust a "$"oth snee;ed fro" the "othballs,+ %oo!ar sur"ised.
)0hchoo*+ the snee;e repeated itself. The friends fro;e.
)0s I said, a relatives in there* Lets s"o!e her out*+ %oo!ar whispered.
)7ont* Lets go* (ere scared* (e want to go ho"e*+ Sineus and Truvor in a panic
grabbed %oo!ars sleeve.
#lga sighed. She wavered to co"e to so"e decision. )0ll the sa"e, its probably
better to find her. Its so"ewhat unco"fortable living in the sa"e apart"ent and still
not being ac:uainted,+ she decided.
The doll approached the trun! and softly !noc!ed on it. )Axcuse "e, please, but we
!now that youre inside. 2ould you loo! out for a "inute and not frighten us/+ So"eone
stirred in the trun!.
)Shy*+ whispered #lga. )%robably a very shy relative... Listen, you cant spend all
your ti"e in the closet* 7o you want to live in the roo" with us/+
)(hats with you/ #ur place is already so crowded. Theres barely enough roo" for
us, and youre inviting so"eone* (hat if she agrees/+ %oo!ar hissed at her.
The lid of the trun! crea!ed and rose up a little. &ig yellow eyes glowed through the
crac!. The bunnies tre"bled and tried to escape, but they bu"ped into each other and
sprawled on the floor. %oo!ar and #lga were also scared, but curiosity was stronger.
),ello* ,ow do you do/ (ho are you and where did you co"e fro"/+ 0 bass bu;;ed
fro" the trun!.
)0nd who are you/+ %oo!ar and #lga as!ed.
)I" @la"y* I live here.+
)I" %oo!ar... This is #lga... 0nd this is Sineus and Truvor. Theyre bunnies and big
)I see, I see... 0ll bunnies are cowards...+ The new friend cli"bed out of the trun!.
%oo!ar shone the flashlight on hi" and gasped in surprise. a green scaly head on a
short nec!, aw!ward legs spread out, s"all wings, and a flexible tail with notches. ,e
was the si;e of a "ediu"$si;ed dog.
)I dont understand... what are you, a crocodile/+ %oo!ar as!ed with a pu;;led loo!.
)(hat crocodile/ 0 dragon*** 0 real one*+ #lga exclai"ed.

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©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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!ha"ter Three
THE DR(+#%ET F.(-)
)<es, I" a dragon, a dragon... 7ont shine a light on "e, it hurts the eyes.+ @la"y
testily confir"ed, s:uinting.
)(e didnt !now that dragons actually exist* (e thought theyre fiction,+ #lga was
)<ou yourself are fiction* 2an say that about everyone. 0bout you in the first place,+
@la"y was indignant.
%oo!ar, with an apologetic s"ile, touched @al"ys shiny scales with a finger. )(ow*
=ot fa!e* I thought you were stuffed. Food that we found you after all*+
@la"y irritably lashed hi"self on the side with his tail. )<ou didnt find "e at all
because I wasnt lost. I was sleeping in the trun!.+
),ow long have you been sleeping here/+ #lga as!ed.
)=ot long. 0bout ninety or a hundred years. 7ont re"e"ber exactly, I dont have a
)#ho$ho*+ the bunnies were surprised. )Thats a very, very long ti"e* <oure
probably old/+
)I" not old at all. I" still young. I lost Ma"a. I cried a little bit, then got tired and
went to sleep in the trun!. <ou havent seen "y "a"a, by any chance/+
)(hats she li!e, your "a"a/+
)So very pretty* Li!e "e, only bigger...+
)=o, we havent "et her. (eve only seen dragons in pictures, how 7obrynya
defeated the",+ %oo!ar declared.
)Its all not true. ,e never defeated us. Frandpa told "e this. 7obrynya ca"e, saw
Frandpa, scratched his head, apologi;ed, and left.+
)Then where have all the dragons gone/ (hy dont we "eet the" anywhere now/+
%oo!ar tried to find out. ,e was standing closer to @la"y than the others were and
exa"ining hi" with suspicion.
)(e hid. (e hid a hundred years ago. 7ragons can beco"e invisible or change into
different ob-ects, but only when theyre already full$grown,+ @la"y explained.
)&ut you cant/+
)=o, I cant. I" still young.+
)=othing young about you* 0 hundred years*+ #lga sniffed scornfully.
)=ot "y fault that we dragons ta!e an awfully long ti"e to grow up... I" so"ewhat
hungry. I havent eaten in a hundred years, and now I can eat anything,+ @la"y said.
Sineus and Truvor started to tre"ble. )0n$anything/ #h, "a"a*+
7obrynya =i!itich is one of the "ost popular heroes of the 3ievan 'us era, a warrior who co"pletes
"any feats in epic poe"s, one of which describes his triu"ph over the dragon.
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)(e brought sandwiches. (ould you li!e a sandwich, @la"y/+ #lga as!ed.
)I would. &ut what is it/+
#lga laughed. She thought that everybody !new what a sandwich was. She pulled
the" out of the bac!pac! and handed one to @la"y. The dragonet instantly swallowed it
together with the wrapper. ,is face assu"ed a pu;;led expression. )It see"s that we
dont eat this rustling thing*+
)<ou havent tried unwrapping/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
)Tasteless all the sa"e.+
It was decided they would ta!e the hungry dragon to the fridge in the !itchen.
@la"y first s:uinted fro" the daylight, but soon grew accusto"ed and started to loo!
around with interest. )(here are we/ (hose burrow is this/+
)This is the hallway. It begins at the front door and ends at the !itchen,+ the bunnies
)Food thin!ing* (ont get lost. >ust go down the hall and sooner or later you get to
the !itchen,+ @la"y said gladly. ,e too! a running start, flapped his wings, too! off with
difficulty, and opened the !itchen door with his head.
)See, this is the fridge,+ the bunnies said. Esually everything was explained to the".
=ow they en-oyed feeling clever.
@la"y stretched his nec!, grabbed the handle with his teeth, and the door clic!ed.
The night before Masha and Ma"a went to the store and bought food for the entire
wee!. (hat was not there* Mil!, cheese, sausage, ha", oranges, a pot of diet soup for
Ma"a, and a bottle of li:ueur, which %apa drin!s )for digestion.+
@la"y studied all this for a while and then as!ed, )(heres the food/ There are only
so"e boxes and -ars here*+
)The food is inside. @irst, wash your hands*+ #lga ordered. She had not !nown
@la"y for very long but was already giving hi" orders.
),ands/+ the dragon was surprised. )I have no hands* I only have feet, and a whole
four of the"*+
#lga pondered. )(ell, o!ay* (ash your feet*+ she said.
)(hat nonsense* (here is it seen that people wash their feet before "eals/ Maybe
youll even say ears/+ %oo!ar was outraged.
)It would be a good idea for so"e people to wash their ears, %oo!ar*+ #lga said
"aliciously. %oo!ar stuc! his tongue out at her.
)I want to eat* I want to eat*+ @la"y gru"bled.
#lga went to the refrigerator. )Soup/+
@la"y carefully lic!ed the soup and shoo! his head.
)0 chop, then/ <ou should li!e chops.+
The dragon too! a bite and gri"aced. )=o, I dont want chops.+
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
In the next three "inutes, it was revealed that @la"y ate neither bread, potatoes,
sausage, nor hot dogs. ,owever, %oo!ar li!ed "ost of all that @la"y did not li!e -a".
)(ait, Ill see what else I can find*+ #lga said and went to the !itchen cupboard.
%oo!ar too! advantage of her absence and decided to play a pran!. )I !now what
dragons li!e. Try "ustard, @la"y* Its very tasty* <ou -ust have to swallow a lot :uic!ly.+
)7ont, dont*+ the bunnies wanted to shout but did not have ti"e.
The hungry dragonet instantly lic!ed all the "ustard out of the -ar. ,owever,
instead of -u"ping to the ceiling, as %oo!ar expected, @la"y lic!ed his lips contentedly
and let out a -et of fla"e fro" his nose.
)(ow* I couldnt do it earlier. <u""y* %erhaps, Id be able to have so"e "ore*+ he
)(hy does it s"ell burnt in here/ 7id you light a "atch/ Ill give it to you*+ #lga
as!ed the bunnies severely when she returned.
)=ot us* Its @la"y* %oo!ar fed hi" "ustard and he breathed fire right away* @la"y
also didnt !now that he can.+
)<eah* Its "e* Isnt it great/+ @la"y boasted.
#lga saw an e"pty "ustard -ar and started to advance "enacingly toward %oo!ar.
,e instantly hid behind @la"y.
)<ou dont understand, doll* ,e li!ed it. 0ll dragons eat "ustard.+
)Its true, its true* 0nd even red pepper in pods. &ecause we breathe fire,+ @la"y
)<oure luc!y, %oo!aroid, or else Id give you a lic!ing as "ustard dessert*+ #lga
stopped chasing %oo!ar.
'eali;ing this, %oo!ar loo!ed out bravely fro" behind the dragon. )(ell, assu"ing
its still un!nown who would beat up who",+ he declared.
@la"y and his new friends "oved fro" the !itchen to the roo" and played indoor
#ly"pic ga"es. The bunnies Sineus and Truvor excelled in -u"ping. They could easily
-u"p over @la"y. %oo!ar did not -u"p so well but so"ersaulted re"ar!ably. ,is round
body was created ideally for so"ersaults. @la"y flew around the !itchen li!e an
aw!ward, heavy bee and al"ost bro!e the la"p.
The doll #lga was afraid of staining her new dress and -ust clapped her hands and
laughed, watching the others having fun. She suddenly re"e"bered that Ma"a and
%apa would soon return fro" wor!. The adults would scold Masha for scattering the
toys, so they had to tidy up the roo".
@la"y hesitated a little and as!ed, )2an I live with you in the roo"/ Its boring
alone in the closet*+
%oo!ar and #lga loo!ed at each other and agreed. )#f course, you can. #nly be
careful. =obody "ust see you,+ said #lga.
)(hy/+ @la"y as!ed.
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)&ecause*+ %oo!ar interrupted. )If they see you, theyll ta!e you away to the ;oo,
detain you with your head in a test tube and study you. %eople ? theyre li!e that.+
)0re we telling Masha about @la"y/+ the bunnies as!ed together.
%oo!ar shoo! his head. )=ot yet. Though big in appearance, shes but a girl, and you
can expect anything fro" the".+
The doll #lga did not li!e any attac! on girls. )&ut we cant tell a lie* Its not good to
lie,+ she ob-ected.
)(hos lying/ To lie is to say so"ething that isnt. &ut when you dont tal! about
what is, its a 2#=$S%I$'0$2<.+
)Then its clear. Its :uite another "atter. Then we wont tell anyone,+ the bunnies
pro"ised. They li!ed difficult words "ore than they understood their "eaning.
),urray*+ @la"y shouted. )Ill live in the roo"* (hen so"eone co"es, Ill hide.
)Eh$huh,+ %oo!ar assured hi".

©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter Four
(B#$T /H(T EVER) .&TT.E DR(+#%ET !(% D#
In the evening on the green carpet in front of the dollhouse, #lga gathered all the
toys to celebrate the resettle"ent of the dragonet @la"y to the roo". #lga was bustling
about in the !itchen. Sineus and Truvor were helpersB they carried spoons, for!s, bowls
of -a", coo!ies and pic!les, cans of fish for the cat Muffin, and -ars of "ustard for
Meanwhile, Muffin was teaching @la"y good "anners. She found hi" funny but a
little uncouth, and i""ediately got busy with his education.
),ow do you wal!/ <ou sto"p li!e a rhino* Should wal! li!e this... @eet "ove softly
and carefully*+ Muffin strolled gracefully along the rug.
)=e$uh. If I wal! li!e that, then what about "y fearso"e dragon huff/ 0ll dragons
huff. They cant do it differently,+ @la"y gru"bled.
)<oure as stubborn as a rhino*+ 'hino was the only wild beast !nown to Muffin.
She once saw a picture of it in a childrens boo! and re"e"bered it very well. Since
then, it had beco"e her source of negative exa"ples for life. )(al! li!e a rhino,+ )stupid
li!e a rhino,+ )drin! "il! li!e a rhino,+ the cat repeated incessantly.
)Its unclear why this Moscow cat is obsessed with the rhino. Muffy, watch you dont
"arry a rhino* <ou would*+ %oo!ar once re"ar!ed and i""ediately got one on the
forehead for it. The cat Muffins foot "ight be soft, but it was painful.
0t that "o"ent, %oo!ar was writing a poe", which he intended on reading at the
festive dinner. The poe" was awfully stubborn and did not want to be written. %oo!ar
was chewing on a pencil and suffering.
)Five "e a rhy"e for the word Hground*+ ,e nudged #lga in the side.
)Leave "e alone. 7ont you see I" busy/+ The doll was spreading -a" on bread.
)=o, youre not... I a". Spreading -a" on bread is nothing li!e creating verses.+
)Then create the" in silence. #r else youll be left without sandwiches,+ the doll
#lga tal!ed bac!.
(hen the preparations were finished, everyone was invited to the table. The
bunnies sat on s"all stools with carved legs, #lga sat on an ar"chair, %oo!ar cli"bed
onto the cats bac!, and @la"y placed his heavy head on the edge of the table.
Averyone glanced around the table, wondering where to begin. The dragonet loo!ed
fondly at the -ar of "ustard. Sineus and Truvor shyly treated each other to carrots. The
cat Muffin drea"ily sniffed the can of fish as if s"elling a rose.
)%lease wait* Ive finished the poe"*+ %oo!ar shouted suddenly.
,e struc! a pose, stretched out his right ar", cleared his throat, ran his fingers
through his "essy red hair, and began to wail in anguish,
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)Cats walked along the ground,
Their legs moving,
Cockroaches were all around,
In manna kasha bathing.+
The toys clapped their hands. )=ot bad* =ot bad at all. 0 good poe". (ell done*+
%oo!ar loo!ed down "odestly. )I dedicate "y :uatrain to the dragonet @la"y.+
@la"y was "oved. )'eally/ Iery nice of you. (ould you read it once "ore, as I
wasnt listening the first ti"e. I didnt !now that the poe" was dedicated to "e,+ he
)Then why did you praise "e/+ %oo!ar as!ed sullenly. )#!ay, listen*+
)Cats walked along the ground,
Their legs moving,
Cockroaches were all around,
In manna kasha bathing.+
%oo!ar repeated the :uatrain three "ore ti"es, and each ti"e it see"ed to hi" all
the "ore successful. )I read and I weep* I cant even believe that I wrote it,+ he said.
%oo!ars poe" was to everyones li!ing. Muffin li!ed that %oo!ar "entioned cats.
The bunnies li!ed that everything rhy"ed and, "ost i"portantly, no one was eaten or
!illed. #lga alone was dissatisfied with the coc!roaches. It see"ed to her unhygienic.
)Lets eat* =o need to put it off* Long live cabbage and carrot pies*+ the bunnies
)(hat a wonderful day* Today I wo!e up, today a great poe" was dedicated to "e,
and Ive found friends*+ @la"y exclai"ed, dipping his long for!ed tongue into the
)(ere also glad that we found you and youve beco"e our friend*+ #lga assured
)0nd were even "ore glad that you dont eat -a",+ %oo!ar added, lic!ing the spoon.
The "eal was barely over and the dishes put away when everyone heard a !ey in the
loc! and voices in the hallway.
)Its the people* ,ide, :uic!*+ they shouted to @la"y. ,e darted around the roo",
searching for so"ewhere to hide. ,e was fussing so that he !noc!ed over a chair and
"ade a lot of noise.
)(hat fell in the roo"/+ Ma"a as!ed in the hallway.
)The cat probably bro!e so"ething again. Ill ta!e a loo!,+ %apa replied.
The door handle started to turn. The bunnies clung to each other in fright and
closed their eyes. #lga stayed still and pretended to be an ordinary doll in a white lace
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dress with a little poc!et on the apron and a big blue bow. 0 doll that said )Ma$"a*+
when she was turned upside down. ,owever, before the door opened, %oo!ar all the
sa"e pulled the blan!et fro" the bed and threw it on @la"y at least to hide the dragon
%apa ca"e into the roo" and loo!ed around. )It loo!s li!e the cat. She -u"ped on
the bac! of a chair and !noc!ed it over*+ he said.
)Meow* Meow*+ Muffin rubbed against his leg. In the presence of people Muffin
uttered only )"eow*+ because she was certain that far fro" everyone was worthy of
ac:uaintance with a tal!ing cat.
Ma"a ca"e into the roo". She i""ediately noticed the blan!et on the floor. It
even see"ed to her that so"ething was "oving under it. )#h* Theres so"ething there*+
she exclai"ed.
%oo!ar half opened one eye and saw the blan!et lift a little at the edge. ,e closed his
eyes, i"agining what would happen now. Shouts, surprise, fright, and then so"eone
would co"e fro" the ;oo and ta!e @la"y away. )Theres no one there* >ust the blan!et
lying about... It only see"ed so to you,+ %oo!ar heard.
)&ut I saw* There was so"ething there*+
)<oure tired fro" wor!, "y dear. Ti"e to ta!e a vacation or, perhaps... :uit it
altogether, this wor!...+
)<es, but you !now...+ the voices began to "ove away.
Ma"a and %apa went out, continuing their adult, uninteresting conversation. The
toys breathed a sigh of relief.
)The dangers over* &ut wheres @la"y/ (here did he go/+
%oo!ar and the bunnies went around the roo", loo!ing through all the crac!s.
@la"y had see"ingly vanished into thin air. %oo!ar even ru""aged in his poc!ets -ust
in case and #lga loo!ed into the teacups. @la"y was nowhere.
)(hat if we drea"t hi" up/+ Sineus suggested.
)Axactly* #therwise, where would he have gone to/+ Truvor agreed.
#lga and %oo!ar only "ade a helpless gesture. They could not understand anything.
'inging laughter was unexpectedly heard fro" above. The toys raised their heads and
saw nothing. >ust a "ost ordinary ceiling. &ut what was that/ (here did the other
chandelier co"e fro"/ (ere there really two/ In fact, there were two chandeliers, li!e
twins, on the ceiling.
),ello, hello* <ou dont recogni;e "e/+ the second chandelier said cheerfully. It
tu"bled onto the floor but did not brea!B instead, it turned into a bea"ing dragon.
)I didnt !now that I can do all these tric!s. #nly where didnt you search* Aven in
your poc!ets* ,a$ha* Thought you drea"t "e up/+
)&ut how did you do that/+
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)I transfor"ed*+ @la"y uttered with difficulty through his laughter. )&eca"e
invisible and then changed. Listen, if I can, it "eans I" already grown* I grew while
sleeping in the trun!.+
)2ra;y* I would li!e that*+ %oo!ar said enviously.
)%oo!ar, you dont have such talent and dont try,+ #lga laughed.
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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!ha"ter Fie
( VER) D&FF&!$.T #.D +EE0ER
Mashas parents often went visiting on wee!ends and she stayed ho"e alone. They
considered her old enough to occupy herself independently one night a wee!. ,owever,
everyone !nows how boring a long, long night is when there is no one else around, all
ho"ewor! is done, and all cartoon recordings have already been watched eighty ti"es.
#f course, you could read a boo!, but who is going to read when no one sees this and
praises you/
#ne such Saturday Masha was sitting in the ar"chair and petting Muffin. The cat
was purring sleepily. Masha was bored and did not !now what she could occupy herself
with. She al"ost started to cry fro" idleness, when she suddenly heard scurrying under
the bed and %oo!ar Jwho do you thin!/K ran out fro" under there. #lga, her head
covered with a dishcloth, was pursuing hi".
)&ad %oo!ar* (hy did you add laundry detergent to "y !asha/ Ive been spewing
soap bubbles for an hour already*+ #lga shouted.
,ere #lga and %oo!ar noticed Masha and fro;e.
)<ou, youre real* <ou can tal!*+ Masha exclai"ed, beside herself with a"a;e"ent.
Then she paused in indecision. She did not !now what to do. get angry that the toys did
not reveal the secret to her sooner or be pleased that now she would always have
so"eone to play with.
),ello, Masha* ,ows it going, howre you growing/+ %oo!ar shouted.
)=ever "et anyone in "y life who could say so "uch nonsense in one "inute* #h*+
#lga released a soap bubble.
Masha s:uatted down beside the arguing toys. )<oure funny. =ow I can always play
with you*+
)Thats for sure. 0nd even right now. (ell go ride the elevator* Ep and down, up
and down,+ %oo!ar suggested.
Masha had her doubts. )I dont !now. They left the apart"ent to "e. They said that
I should loo! after the cat and not open the door to anyone.+
)%oor excuses* If you dont want to play with us, then say so. <ou wont be opening
the door to anyone. ,ow could you if youre riding the elevator/+
)0nd the cat/ ,ow will I loo! after the cat/+
)(ell bring the cat along. Anrich your distasteful life with new i"pressions*+
%oo!ar declared.
Masha, the doll #lga, and %oo!ar left the apart"ent and su""oned the elevator.
7raping over Mashas ar" was the cat Muffin, who wished to !eep her own scholarship
secret and said only )"eow*+ and )sh$sh*+
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©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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Masha and the toys -ust rode the elevator at first, but they soon got bored and
started to frolic. %oo!ar ca"e up with ringing all the doorbells in a row and as soon as
steps were heard in the hallway, springing into the elevator and riding off. They played
this ga"e for :uite a long ti"e. It was fun. (hen a door was opened and so"eone stuc!
his head out, the pran!sters were already laughing in the elevator.
)(hat if so"eone finds out what we are doing here/+ Masha as!ed.
%oo!ar conte"ptuously brushed this aside with his chubby hand. )@iddlestic!s$
theatrics* (ould the residents in indoor slippers chase us down the stairs/+ ,e,
however, did not ta!e into account that in the world there was %iro;h!ov.
%oo!ar -u"ped out of the elevator on the eighth floor and, after leaping atop the
bac! of the cat Muffin, persistently rang several ti"es at a "etal door. In this apart"ent
lived %eter %etrovich %iro;h!ov. ,e was a terribly difficult old gee;er. Masha only had to
"a!e a little bit of noise in her roo", or the cat Muffin to drop so"e plate, and he would
begin to bang on the heater. %iro;h!ov banged long and hard, and then ran to co"plain
to Mashas parents that they would not let hi" rest )for ti"e honestly earned.+
)(hat have you done* This is %iro;h!ovs apart"ent* =ow hell catch us*+ Masha
was frightened.
),ave no fear. Itll all be done on the sly, no cry,+ %oo!ar cal"ed her.
The bell rang and %iro;h!ov darted to the peephole. The peephole was %eter
%etrovichs favourite surveillance station. Aven when they were not ringing his
apart"ent but the neighbours, he would then spy on who and why. ,owever, now he
saw nothing through the peephole and reali;ed that whoever was hiding behind the door
was s"all. #n running to the door and opening it, %iro;h!ov "anaged to see so"eones
legs running into the elevator, which :uic!ly went up.
)=asty neighbourhood !ids being naughty. (ell, Ill fix the"* Ill be on the watch,
catch the", and then ta!e the" to their parents*+ %iro;h!ov decided. ,e :uic!ly ran up
the stairs, catching up with the elevator. )=ow Ill show you* <oull re"e"ber "e until
your discharge fro" the hospital, you little brats*+ %iro;h!ov shouted.
Masha was horrified and loo!ed at %oo!ar reproachfully. Masha was a cautious girl
and wished that they had not started all this.
,owever, %oo!ar did not see" in the least worried. )The ga"es -ust beginning*
=ow well have a race of old "en in slippers in the opposite direction* #n your "ar!*
Fet set* Fo*+ he said. ,e pressed the )Stop+ button and sent the elevator down.
),ow do you !now what buttons to push/+ #lga was surprised.
)I operate by scientific po!e and prod. %ress all the buttons in a row. Maybe so"e
will wor!,+ %oo!ar explained. ,e stopped the elevator on the eighth floor and started to
ring %iro;h!ovs doorbell continuously.
Meanwhile, %iro;h!ov, craftily lur!ing on the last floor, was waiting for the !ids to
get closer. ,e heard the doorbell of his apart"ent and reali;ed that he had been ta!en
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in. &esides, he re"e"bered that he had forgotten to close the door and did not even
bring the !ey with hi".
%iro;h!ov rushed down the stairs, shouting, )=ow Ill show you* <ou and your
parents will be evicted, "ar! "y words*+
(hile %oo!ar was ringing %iro;h!ovs doorbell, the elevator left. The pran!sters
:uic!ly loo!ed around to see where they could hide. 0 footfall along the stairs was
approaching. It see"ed that %iro;h!ov was about to drop onto their heads. 0t the last
"inute Masha, Muffin, %oo!ar, and #lga "anaged to cli"b down a few steps and hid
behind the garbage chute.
%iro;h!ov, breathing hard, ca"e running onto the landing and loo!ed around.
)(here did they go/ Ill find out who it is*+ ,e hurried to his apart"ent to loo! out the
window, waiting for the pran!sters to go out the entrance.
Masha sighed with relief. )%hew, got away with it* 0l"ost got caught* I wont play
this stupid ga"e any"ore*+
%oo!ar nodded agree"ent. )@ine, we wont play this* (ell play stretch.+
&efore Masha could stop the up$to$"ischief %oo!ar, he instantly pulled out of the
garbage chute a piece of thic! rope and fir"ly tied it to the handles of the two opposite
doors ? %iro;h!ovs apart"ent and the one across the landing. &oth doors opened in, so
when one started to pull in, the other door would sla" shut.
)=ow the fun begins*+ %oo!ar exclai"ed and rang both doorbells.
It is necessary to say that in the opposite apart"ent lived a saleslady of the
super"ar!et dairy depart"ent by the na"e of 0vdo!hina. This was a wiry "oustached
fe"ale with a shrill voice, who could screa" so loudly that even %iro;h!ov was afraid of
her. 0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov argued all the ti"e and often spied on each other through
the peepholes. They were so si"ilar that they could not get along.
(hen 0vdo!hina heard the doorbell, she went to the door and abruptly pulled the
handle towards herself. Shortly before that, she had heard %iro;h!ovs indignant voice
on the stairs and now decided that he had co"e to swear. ,owever, the door did not
budge. The rope was hindering it.
)Is that so*+ 0vdo!hina shouted and leaned hard on the handle. &ut she succeeded
in opening the door only a very little. (ith this, she sla""ed shut the door of
%iro;h!ov, who was also trying to loo! out on to the landing.
)0ha, got caught* ,olding the door on the outside* =ow they wont have ti"e to
escape*+ %iro;h!ov crowed. ,e dug his heels in the threshold and began to pull towards
hi"self. 0vdo!hina felt the tension on the other side and, not to be outdone, leaned all
her weight onto the door.
0 ga"e of tug of war had begun* %oo!ar stood in the "iddle between the
neighbouring doors, too short to be seen through the peephole, and watched the scene
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with interest. %iro;h!ov or 0vdo!hina had to pull with all their "ight so the door would
open a little, but only a little because the rope was short.
)(ell, !eep it up* =ow I have you*+ %iro;h!ov shouted loudly.
0vdo!hina heard this cry and decided that her neighbour was the one who would
not let her out of the apart"ent. )#h, you scarecrow* 2o"pletely lost your "ind* =ow
Ill get you*+ she shouted.
%iro;h!ov recogni;ed 0vdo!hinas voice and bla"ed her for everything. ,e even
vaguely suspected that it was 0vdo!hina who rode the elevator and teased hi". )=ow Ill
crush you, hooligan* Aven a grown wo"an* Let go of the door now. Ill tear you to
pieces*+ %iro;h!ov yelled in a voice hoarse fro" indignation.
%oo!ar loo!ed at Masha and :uietly as!ed how she li!ed the new ga"e. Masha
shoo! her head and threatened hi" with a finger. ,owever, she was glad that they were
able to play a tric! on %iro;h!ov, who was always annoying her parents.
)Let go of the door i""ediately* I order you*+ %iro;h!ov yelled.
)Let go yourself*+ 0vdo!hina screa"ed.
0ttracted by the noise, the occupants of the other apart"ents started to loo! out. It
was ti"e to stop the ga"e. Ta!ing advantage of a short respite of both 0vdo!hina and
%iro;h!ov, who were :uite exhausted fro" their exertion, %oo!ar untied the rope fro"
the door handles, and together with Masha, the cat, and the doll #lga darted away to
their own apart"ent.
There the little i"ps put their ears to the door and listened. It so happened that
0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov pulled the door at the sa"e ti"e, counting on a sudden
charge to capture the opponent by surprise. They -u"ped out onto the landing and
collided face to face. Aach decided that he had caught the other at the scene of the cri"e.
(hat happened next, Masha did not "anage to find out, because Ma"a and %apa
had returned fro" visiting. She did not want her parents to find out that she had gone
out of the apart"ent in their absence. 0ll the sa"e, they would not believe that it was
not her but %oo!ar who had started everything. %arents do not understand a lot of
things, and it is a pity. They were also children once.

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!ha"ter Si1
( +##D F(&R) T(.E F#R THE B$%%&ES
The bunnies Sineus and Truvor never went to bed without a fairy tale. Avery night
before bedti"e Masha or the doll #lga would tell the" the fa"iliar stories of Little 'ed
'iding ,ood, 2inderella, or %uss in &oots. ,owever, Masha was not ho"e that eveningB
she had gone to spend the night with Frand"a and had ta!en the doll #lga with her.
The bunnies co"plained and did not want to go to bed without a fairy tale. In the end,
%oo!ar, who was fond of sitting in silence in the evening, got tired of their whining.
)Thats it* Ive had enough* <oull have a fairy tale* Lie in bed and close your eyes*+
%oo!ar put his hands behind his bac! and began to pace the roo". The bunnies
:uietly lay in their "itten beds and waited for the fairy tale pro"ised by %oo!ar.
)(hat does that silly doll usually stuff your head with/+
)#nce upon a ti"e there was a "iller and he had three sons. ,e left the oldest the
"ill, the "iddle one the don!ey, and the youngest a cat in boots...+ the bunnies babbled.
They !new all the stories by heart, but for so"e strange reason they could not tell the
tales by the"selves.
%oo!ar laughed. )(hat cat/ In boots/ (hat they dont do to "ess with !ids heads*
I once tried to put boots on Muffin, thought that she would scratch less, and what
happened/ Muffy al"ost pulled all the stuffing out of "e* =o, not on your life* Today Ill
tell you another story.+
The bunnies per!ed up. %oo!ar started, )0n old "an li!e our %iro;h!ov had a lot of
dust in his apart"ent. The dust lay on the floor, on the sofas, and even in the closed
drawers of the table. #ne "orning the old "an got up and saw in the dust trac!s of little
feet wearing shoes with tiny studs. The trac!s led into the !itchen to the sugar bowl. It
was as if ten little people had gone there in the night.
)In the evening the old "an put ten pieces of candy on the !itchen table. =ine were
nor"al, but one was poisoned. The candies disappeared in the night. The next "orning
only the trac!s of nine pairs of s"all shoes led to the sugar bowl... &unnies, eyes closed,
I said*
)The old "an put out another piece of poisoned candy. The day passed and there
were fewer trac!s. ,e poisoned another piece of candy, and another, and another. So
ti"e after ti"e he poisoned the candy, until one day he saw only one trac!. 0 row of
trac!s crossed the dust sadly and led to the window. =obody ca"e to the sugar bowl
%oo!ar finished the tale, yawned, and loo!ed at the bunnies, certain that they were
already asleep. =othing of the !ind. The bunnies were :uietly tre"bling in their "itten
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)(hat te$te.../ (atch out, or Ill span! you*+
)Tell us 2inderella, %oo!ar*+ the bunnies ti"idly as!ed.
%oo!ar gri"aced. )(ell, fine. 'e"ind "e.+
)#nce upon a ti"e there was 2inderella. The step"other and her two daughters
forced 2inderella to wor! a lot and did not let her go to the ball at the palace. In the
palace lived a prince...+ the bunnies pro"pted.
)Then 2inderella, li!e our Muffy, wanted to get "arried. 'ight/+ %oo!ar
)<es. ,ow do you !now/+ The bunnies were surprised.
)0lways one and the sa"e* (ell, listen to the se:uel. 2inderella got tired of the"
ta!ing her for a fool and preventing her fro" having a good ti"e. She whac!ed the
step"other on the forehead with the glass slipper. The slipper, naturally, went to pieces.
Then 2inderella loc!ed the sisters in the base"ent and ran to the ball herself. There she
:uic!ly "arried the prince and arranged her own business.+
)(hat business/+ The bunnies were surprised.
)Its clear what. (ith the prince. That was the !ind of person she was, this
2inderella of yours*+ %oo!ar yawned and loo!ed at Sineus and Truvor in the hope that
they, too, were inclined to sleep.
It was not so, however. The bunnies were whi"pering softly in their "ittens but
were not going to sleep. )#lga didnt tell it this way* 0h$h*+
%oo!ar beca"e extre"ely annoyed and -u"ped up and down on the spot. )(ell,
what else do you want/ <ou want that I tell you about va"pires or &lue &eard/+
)#lga didnt tell us about the"* 0h$h*+
)I" tired of your #lga and your fairy tales* I" as!ing for the last ti"e. will you
sleep or not/ Ill give you three "inutes* 0lready two* If you dont fall asleep, Ill call
@reddy with the saw*
0nd hell cut you up into pieces*+ %oo!ar threatened.
<ou can i"agine what started here. %oo!ar had never heard such a loud s:ueal.
Esually Sineus and Truvor would only whine a little bit, but now, what a stor"* %oo!ar
nearly went deaf. ,e darted around the roo", not !nowing what to do. Luc!y for hi",
Muffin, awa!ened by the loud crying, ca"e in and cal"ed the bunnies. 0t the sa"e
ti"e, the cat expressed to %oo!ar everything she thought of hi" and even a lot "ore
that she did not. It turned out that, on the whole, the cat did not have a very high
opinion of hi".
%oo!ar held his head with his hands. )<ou "eowed out "y soul, nasty Muffy* =ot
on your life* =ext ti"e, you tell the fairy tale* This 2inderella of yours is a pain in the

This refers to @reddy 3rueger fro" A Nightmare on Elm Street and >ason Ioorhees fro" the Friday the
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!ha"ter Seen
THE !(T -$FF&% F(..S &% .#VE
The cat Muffin lived according to an exact schedule. She slept during the day and
played with Masha in the evening ? -u"ped into Mashas ar"s, snuggled up to Masha,
rubbed against Mashas legs, or graciously a"used herself with newspaper cru"pled
into a ball. She pretended to believe that it was a "ouse. There were only two ga"es
Muffin could not stand. she did not li!e it when her tail was pulled or when she was
harnessed to a cart. In these cases, Muffin bristled up and began to hiss, and once
scratched the disgusting boy %eter, who tried to suc! Muffin into the vacuu" cleaner.
,owever, on wa!ing up one "orning, #lga found the cat in a strange "ood. Muffin
was rolling on the floor and heartrendingly bawling so"e special raucous "eow.
)(hats with you/ ,urt yourself/ 0 headache/ Sprained your foot/+ #lga as!ed
Muffin lifted her head and loo!ed at her blearily. )#h, its you* Food that you ca"e,
although, in fact, you could also not have co"e.+
)(hy/+ #lga was surprised. )<ou yourself invited "e yesterday* <ou were so
cheerful. (hat happened/ <ou caught a cold/ I warned you not to lie in the draught.+
Muffin sighed. )(hat cold/ 2an you !eep a secret/+
)I can. I can do a lot of things. sew, wash, coo! dinner, clean the apart"ent...+ the
doll honestly started to ite"i;e, bending her fingers.
)<es, yes* (ell, Ill tell you anyway* Ive fallen in love,+ the cat purred despondently.
)<ou dont say* (ith who"/+ #lga was pleased for Muffin.
)#ne of the cats. <ou dont !now hi",+ Muffin said.
)0nd whos he, this cat/+
)=o one... =othing special...+
)=othing at all/+
)0bsolutely. Thats not the point. I love hi".+
#lga shoo! her curls. )I dont understand* My heads all "uddled*+
)=o wonder. <ou have nothing there. So"e holes for the hair,+ Muffin snorted.
#lga was not offended. She was too curious to find out the details of Muffins love.
(hy these details were necessary to her, she did not !now, but they were so"ehow
i"portant for the one$and$a$half$year$old doll with blue eyes li!e all dolls.
)(here did you "eet this cat/ <oure ho"e all the ti"e,+ #lga as!ed.
Muffin turned over onto her sto"ach, placed her head on her front paws, and
heaved a really deep sigh. )I saw hi" in the window. ,e was on a nearby roof
)7oing what/+
)Singing serenades. Songs.+
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)0nd he sang well/+
)2ouldnt be worse. Iery
poorly,+ Muffin ad"itted.
)0nd you fell in love/ <ou heard
this no$need$salt
and fell in love/+
The doll #lga beca"e all the "ore
),ave to fall in love with
so"eone. Indeed, its spring,+ the cat
re"ar!ed de-ectedly.
)0nd whats he li!e, your cat/
)=othing of the !ind* 0n
ordinary cat of no pedigree. Most li!ely lives in a du"pster and feeds on fish tails,+
Muffin shuddered.
)(hat did you see in hi"/+
)I saw nothing in hi". =E$T,I=F* I -ust fell in love* <ou, doll, are totally stupid*+
the cat shouted. Muffin leaped up and began to pace anxiously around the roo". She
sniffed, -u"ped up onto the chairs, started to roll on the floor, and scratched the sofa
with her claws.
The tidy #lga did not li!e this love. It was too restless for her taste. )(hy are you
suffering/ Is it really not possible to love :uietly/ 2url up by the heater and love*+ she
)I" suffering. <ou really dont understand that I" suffering/ I -ust cant find a
place for "yself*+
)2ant you fall in love with so"eone else/ (hy hi"/ &ecause he sang no$need$salt/+
)<ou dont understand*+ the cat shoo! her head. ),e has nothing to do with it. Aven
if it wasnt hi" on the roof or he wasnt serenading, Id still fall in love. Its spring after
all, understand/+
#lga straightened her bow. )Iaguely. It turns out that I should fall in love with
%oo!ar only because now its spring/+
Muffin swished her tail. )(hat are you tal!ing about/ <oure too young. 0nd your
%oo!ar is -ust an i""ature baby doll. Love, its only for adults. So"eti"es you si"ply
want to fall in love and you do. So/ Its nothing*+
Then the cats face beca"e drea"y again, and Muffin, "eowing, began to roll on the
floor. )The funny thing is...+ she said and stopped rolling. )The funny thing is that this
This refers to a 1665 short 'ussian poe" about love that starts with No need salt"No need water"#ive
me love"...
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will all pass. I !now exactly what will happen. 0fter two or three days. This has
happened to "e several ti"es before.+
The doll #lga listened carefully to Muffin, thought a little, and s"oothed her
pinafore. 0 drea"y and hesitant expression suddenly appeared on her cal" face. )3now
what... #nly dont laugh* 2an I also fall in love with hi"/+ #lga suddenly blurted out.
Muffin, fro" surprise, even cal"ed down te"porarily. )(ith who"/+
)<our cat.+
)7ont as!. >ust say, yes or no/+ #lga de"anded, turned red, and puffed up li!e a
Muffin paused, loo!ed at the doll, s"iled, and purred, )<ou have to go and do the
sa"e/ (ell, your proble"... @all in love as you please*+
In the evening Muffin and the doll #lga sat on the windowsill and watched the sun
setting behind the "ulti$storied building. %anting was heard. This was %oo!ar
scra"bling along the curtains.
)0ha* =ow Ive found you* ,i, 2at"uffy* ,i, #lga* (hat are you doing here/+ he
shouted "errily.
#lga turned around. )0h, its only you, %oo!ar* (ere loo!ing out the window. If
you want, you can stay. #nly, please, dont "a!e any noise.+
)(hat havent I seen out this window/ 0 thousand "illion ti"es I loo! out it...
There*+ %oo!ar slid li!e a wheel, throwing his short legs up high. #lga and Muffin did
not pay hi" any special attention, and %oo!ar, having cal"ed down, also began to loo!
out the window.
)#ho*+ he suddenly yelled. )I !now what youre staring at* There, that guy is
washing his car again. ,eres a fool* The whole day he cant stop and washes, washes all
the ti"e... <oud thin! that he has fallen in love with the car* Lets throw a flower pot at
hi". Itll be fun*+
)In love with a car* ,ow original*+ the cat Muffin, who only heard this fro"
%oo!ars long tirade, sighed.
)Much "ore original* 0 co""on pig*+ the doll #lga said.
)<ou understand nothing again* =othing at all,+ Muffin waved her off.
)Its not i"portant with who" you love. <ou can fall in love with anyone or even
anything. The ob-ect has no significance* (hats i"portant is the state* Love co"es not
because so"eone suitable actually appeared beside you, but because it cant not co"e. It
co"es not fro" outside but inside,+ Muffin said.
),ow s"art you are, Muffy* <oure so s"artB no wonder youre not "arried*+
%oo!ar breathed out enthusiastically. The cat hissed angrily.
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)Steady, Muffin* ,ush, %oo!ar* Lets -ust loo! at the sun*+ said #lga.
%oo!ar and the cat obeyed and also began to ad"ire the sunset.

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!ha"ter Eight
,##2(R (%D H&S (%T&3+$EST DEFE%!E
The doll #lga lived in a little house on the windowsill between the flowerpots.
,aving a good i"agination, one could tell everyone that one has a house with a garden
in the "ountains. Silver cones spar!led on the railing of the porch. The little house had
a s"all roo", a !itchen, and an attic, and was beautifully painted in watercolour.
%oo!ar lived in an old si;e$L9 boot. It was always as "essy in the boot as in his
poc!ets. Things lay in a pile, and %oo!ar hi"self usually sat on the very top of the pile to
welco"e guests.
0 large cardboard coo!ie box served as the ho"e for the bunnies, with windows and
doors cut out with scissors. Sineus and Truvor painted the inside with "ar!ers and
coloured pencils. The bunnies, as you re"e"ber, slept in "ittens. They were often
afraid at night, and the "ittens had to be washed in the "orning and hung out to dry on
the des! la"p. )It s"ells li!e a nursery school,+ %oo!ar wrin!led his nose. 0part fro"
the "ittens, the bunnies had a table and chairs of e"pty thread spools in the box. There
was also a s"all "irror, into which the doll #lga loved to loo! when she visited.
#ne "orning, after wa!ing up in the "itten beds, the bunnies brea!fasted on carrot
salad, washed down with carrot -uice, and decided to go visiting. They too! off to
%oo!ar was already awa!e and building so"ething. )0ha*+ he said when he saw
Sineus and Truvor. )<oure -ust what I need. I" building anti$guest traps. ,ere, hold
this rope*+
%oo!ar hung a large pillow over the door and, satisfied, loo!ed at his own wor!. )0
nice trap* (or!s as it should* 0 guest will thin! its the bell, hell pull, and the pillow will
fall on his head... &oo"*+
)(ont the guest be hurt/ Its probably not nice to throw pillows at those who co"e
to visit you,+ the bunnies as!ed with unease.
)(ell, too bad* Its called A$TI$MEATTA. 0ll of Aurope is now busy with only this,+
%oo!ar exclai"ed.
)#h* It "ust be awfully scary to live in this Aurope*+
)#n the contrary, its fun. The host of a ho"e initially !ic!s a visitor downstairs or
pours sha"poo into his tea, and then politely apologi;es for any inconvenience. The
visitor says, H7oesnt "atter, dont worry* %lease co"e to "y place to"orrow for a "ug
of poison.+
%oo!ar whirled around the roo". ,e pulled the rope, suspended balls and pillows,
hid crac!ers under seats, and filled water pistols with water. Then he sat down on the
doorstep and started to wait patiently.
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@inally, the bolder of the two twins, Truvor, ventured to as!, )%$%oo!ar, but %$
%oo!ar, who are we waiting for/+
%oo!ar turned his red head to hi". )Fuests, who else/ (hy else would I build the
)&ut no one will co"e. Today #lga has this...general cleaning. The cat Muffin is
sleeping, and its better not to touch her. #therwise, she decides, half$awa!e, that youre
a "ouse. She hasnt seen real "ice.+
0t that "o"ent, a screa" and the sound of a fall were heard so"ewhere close.
%oo!ar darted off fro" the spot. )(hats that/ (ho crashed there/+
They ran around a pile of stuff and saw the doll #lga, sitting in a puddle and strewed
with feathers fro" a pillow.
)(here did you co"e fro"/ <ou
have general cleaning today*+ %oo!ar
as!ed suspiciously.
)I already finished... =ow I
stu"bled over so"ething and this
happened*+ #lga started to cry.
)I see,+ said %oo!ar. )=ever "ind,
and relax. =othing terrible has
happened... >ust a little eti:uette. &y the
way, where did this puddle co"e fro"/
It wasnt here earlier.+
)This isnt a puddle. Its apple -elly,+
#lga uttered through her tears.
)0pple -elly/ My favourite apple
-elly/+ 0 perplexed expression appeared
on %oo!ars face.
)<ouve been as!ing for a long ti"e,
so I "ade so"e.+
%oo!ar sta"ped his foot. )#h* (hy didnt you warn "e that you would bring -elly/
(hy/ 0lways intrigues, forever hiding everything fro" "e* (hat, #lga, you couldnt
carry it "ore carefully/ (ho as!ed you to fall/+
)Ive always wal!ed here. I dont !now how it happened.+
)It was probably your anti$guest trap snapping into action. <ou see, %oo!ar, the
ropes tight*+ the bunnies Sineus and Truvor explained happily.
%oo!ar "ade threatening eyes at the", but it was already too late.
)0 trap for guests/+ #lga repeated slowly. )(hat !ind of trap, nasty doll/+
)>ust a little trap. =othing serious. =ot even a trap, but nothing. >ust a string, so
short...+ %oo!ar sta""ered, bac!ing away.
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)#h, you bad %oo!ar* =ow Ill show you*+ #lga shouted.
She started to chase %oo!ar, who too! to his heels in fear on his short legs, "a!ing
excuses on the run, )I didnt want... It was -ust a string* #uch* =ot on the bac!* &etter
on the head, its soft*+
),eres to you and apple -elly*+ %oo!ar often repeated afterwards. )0nd all because
of this ATIMEATTA. That I would ever trust good "anners*+

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!ha"ter %ine
&%V(DERS FR#- ( SH#EB#4
Masha had a cousin %eter, who was already ten. %eter lived with his "a"a and papa
in the city of Tula, but so"eti"es ca"e to Moscow for a visit. %eter was "ean. ,e pulled
Mashas hair, shot her with a water pistol, and teased her with unpleasant words li!e
crybaby, du""y, runt, and others. It cannot be said that Masha loved %eter and loo!ed
forward to his arrival.
This ti"e, %eter brought with hi" a large box tied up with a string. It would see"
that a box was a box, nothing special, but the strange thing was that %eter let nobody
loo! in it. It all started with this box. This is what happened.
)(hat a nasty one, this %eter* <esterday he wanted to put "e in a pot, and when I
scratched hi", he ran to co"plain to Ma"a. ,es not only a "eanie, but also a
tattletale,+ the cat Muffin co"plained one day.
%oo!ar nodded. )I also dont li!e %eter. Last ti"e he al"ost tore "y ar" off. ,e
wanted to chec! whether its sewn on fir"ly. Isnt that stupid/+
The dragonet @la"y was rushing about the roo", unsuccessfully trying to catch up
with his own tail. )7oesnt wor!* 3eeps the box under his paws all the ti"e. I wonder
what %eter has hiding in there. (hat do you thin!, %oo!ar/+ he as!ed.
%oo!ar declared that he was getting hungry and could not thin! on an e"pty
sto"ach. )Lets go visit #lga* >ust in ti"e for dinner,+ he said.
)Its aw!ward so"ehow... (e cant dine at hers every day* (e were there
yesterday,+ @la"y hesitated.
N0nd the day before, and the day before that,+ the cat Muffin added.
)(e have to go all the "ore to not brea! tradition*+ %oo!ar continued to entice. ,e
did not want to go alone, afraid that #lga would chase hi" away. )I"agine what a
pleasant surprise itll be for #lga. Shes probably sitting at the table now and thin!ing,
H(hat a" I to do with this -ar of "ustard/ She thin!s, HLet "e throw this out, as @la"y
wont be co"ing today. Then she loo!s at the can of fish and thin!s, H(ill Muffin co"e
visit today/ If not, then I" throwing out everything.+ The cat Muffin lic!ed her lips.
#n @la"ys face was reflected the intense effort of thought. )%oo!ar, do you thin!
that #lga still has "ustard left/ 0nd shes actually going to throw it out/+
)#f course. >ust yesterday, I heard her say, H0 full cupboard of this "ustard* Should
throw the" all out, all the sa"e no one eats the",+ %oo!ar said with inspiration. ,e
was not lying at all. ,is head was si"ply arranged so that he believed everything he said.
)(hy, she has forgotten about "e* Lets go, :uic!. (e "ay still have ti"e*+ @la"y
was scared.
The cat Muffin thoughtfully rubbed her face with a paw. )#f course, %oo!ar, you
exaggerated a lot... <ou cant do without that in order not to tal! nonsense... &ut, on the
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other hand, #lga "ay in fact throw out the cans of fish. Shes so absent$"inded
%oo!ar cli"bed onto Muffins bac!, @la"y wor!ed his wings, and they went to
#lgas ho"e.
=o one noticed that the lid of the "ysterious box had "oved aside. 0t first, a head
in a shiny hel"et po!ed out, turned around a bit, and disappeared. (hispering was
heard fro" the box. So"eone said, )#ne* Two* Three*+ and a large opening instantly
appeared in one of the walls, as if so"eone had sawed through fro" inside the box.
Three soldiers, bought as a gift for %eter
on his birthday, got out of the opening and
loo!ed around. They had been hiding in the
box for a few days, waiting for the opportune
"o"ent to carry out a sortie and find out
whether there was so"ething in the roo" they
could invade.
)Forilla, have the toys left/+ one of the
soldiers whispered, loo!ing around. This was a
rotund, chubby "an in a generals unifor",
appeared very warli!e. 0 polished hel"et
glea"ed on his head.
)<es, 2o""ander* =o, 2o""ander* 7ont
!now, 2o""ander*+ Forilla said distinctly.
)Shut up, !lut;*+
)&ut you yourself as!ed if theyve left.
,ere I said...+
)Anough*** Silence***+
)0s you wish, 2o""ander...+ Forilla was
offended. Forilla was a soldier of enor"ous
si;e and very strong. ,e held in his hands a
"ulti$barrel "achine gun that fired
thu"btac!s. 0 few bo"bs of chewing gu"
hung fro" his belt. Forillas head was s"all
and he was strictly advised against thin!ing
too "uch.
)Frabber, where are they/ (here did
these stupid dolls go/ Fo and have a loo!*+ Feneral ordered.
Frabber was a robot, "etallic and shiny. 2laws li!e those of a crab served as his
hands. The right claw was in the for" of a pair of pliers for grabbing and the left li!e a
pair of scissors for cutting. It was precisely the robot, with his claw$scissors, that had cut
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a hole in the box, through which the soldiers had cli"bed out. 0 gun barrel that fired
stic!ies with a terrible force stuc! out of Frabbers iron sto"ach. 0 !ey -utted out of the
robots bac!. It was necessary to wind it every hour, otherwise the robot would switch
)I cant, 2o""ander* I" not progra""ed to go and have a loo!. I" only
progra""ed to grab*+ the robot reported.
)<oure not soldiers, but !lut;es* ,ave to do everything "yself. 2ant entrust
anything to anyone*+ Feneral sta"ped his feet.
Frabber and Forilla loo!ed at each other.
)Feneral, why did we get out of the box/+ Forilla as!ed and scratched his head.
)To con:uer all indiscri"inately, bloc!head* @irst, well ta!e over this roo" and
these dollhouses will be ours. (ell build a base here and then attac! the ice$crea"
!ios!. 3ids love ice crea" very "uch. (ell force the" to throw away all the toys.
Instead of old toys, different !inds of teddy bears, dolls, and bunnies, let the" buy
pistols and To""y guns*+
)Food thin!ing, Feneral* (e would never have thought of that*+ Forilla was
)Thats why I" the co""ander and not you*+
)Feneral, the toys have co"e out of the house. Theyll be here in five "inutes. I see
two dolls and two "idgets with big ears,+ Frabber suddenly reported.
)Those are rabbits, you stupid piece of iron* Averybody ready for a"bush* (hen
they co"e closer, well capture the",+ Feneral whispered.
Forilla and Frabber hid in a box and Feneral behind a leg of the bed.
)I hid well, right, 2o""ander/+ Forilla yelled fro" his hiding place.
)Shut up, !lut;* Theyre already close*+ Feneral threatened Forilla with a fist.
The doll #lga was glad to have guests. 0s %oo!ar predicted, she had so"ething to
treat each of the". %oo!ar got a whole pot of apple -elly and a plu" ca!e. There was
canned fish for Muffin. #lga had stored up a -ar of wonderful, very strong "ustard for
@la"y. 0nybodys eyes would have crawled to their forehead with such "ustard, but it
suited @la"ys taste. ,e even started to snuffle with pleasure. Muffin and @la"y were
pro"ptly stuffed and they started to feel drowsy.
)#ne shouldnt go for a stroll after lunch* Self$respecting ani"als sleep after lunch*+
Muffin purred, yawning.
)Thats it* 0nd after wa!ing up, we can dine i""ediately. (ell grow*+ @la"y
agreed. ,e was a rare sleepyhead. 0fter all, he had already slept in the trun! for a
hundred years. Muffin and @la"y instantly fell asleep, huddled close to each other.
)<ou clearly overfed the", #lga* It see"s that only I havent finished eating*+
%oo!ar re"ar!ed. ,aving said this, he unnoticeably undid his belt and "oved it to the
last hole.
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#lga too! the rabbits by the paws and too! the" for a wal!. %oo!ar la;ily dragged
hi"self along behind the", his hands in his poc!ets. Ma!ing s"all tal!, the friends were
gradually getting closer to where Frabber, Forilla, and Feneral were hiding.
(hen the toys got close enough, Feneral -u"ped out fro" behind the leg of the bed
and fired a water pistol at #lga. ),ooray* 2atch the"* =o one gets away* 2atch the"
Forilla -u"ped out of the box, confusedly firing the "achine gun and yelling,
)Stwi!e* Stwi!e*+ (hen Forilla got excited, all the sounds got "ixed up in his "outh
and he stopped articulating )r.+ Frabber was running a"uc! wor!ing his trac!s,
snapping his claws, and speeding towards the bunnies. ),old it there, rabbit hats*+ he
0t first, victory was on the side of the soldiers. The doll #lga screa"ed and al"ost
fainted when Feneral spattered her lace apron with a water pistol. Forilla threw one of
the stic!y bo"bs and Truvors feet instantly stuc! to the floor. In response, %oo!ar gave
Feneral such a push that he fell and beca"e entangled in his sabre, ),elp* Entangle "e,
:uic!*+ Feneral yelled. Frabber, who had al"ost caught Sineus with his own claws,
dropped hi" and ran to help Feneral.
0t that "o"ent, Forilla sei;ed %oo!ar and raised hi" high above his head. )(ow,
what a sharp little fatty* (ont get away fwo" "e*+ Forilla boo"ed.
Frabber, forgetting about the bunnies, clic!ed his claws and advanced on #lga. The
doll pushed the robot away and said angrily, )7ont touch "e* (ere scarcely
ac:uainted. <our hands are cold*+
#lga accidentally touched the !ey on Frabbers bac! and started to turn it the wrong
way. So"ething clic!ed in the robot and his trac!s starting spinning at different speeds,
so that the robot started to travel in circles. #lga had discovered by chance Frabbers
"ost vulnerable spot. )7a"age of wor!ing "echanis"* &rea!down* &rea!down*
&rea!down*+ Frabber repeated "echanically.
%oo!ar was also luc!y. (hen Forilla lifted hi" above his own head, a ha""er,
which %oo!ar used to crac! nuts, fell out of his poc!et and al"ost crac!ed Forillas
forehead. @ro" the other poc!ets poured pieces of iron, -ars, and beetles in "atchboxes.
0ll this rained down on Forillas head. ),elp* 2ant fight this way*+ Forilla s:uealed.
0 beetle crawled out of a "atchbox and bit Forilla on an ear, and another fell right
under his bulletproof vest and began to crawl around there. )I" tic!lish* Aw$w$w$w* T$
ta!e this p$pest away*+ Forilla started to -u"p on the spot and dropped %oo!ar.
Feneral fired the water pistol at the bunnies and #lga but could not hit the" at all,
as his hel"et was constantly sliding down over his eyes. )Stop* Lets ai"* I have a little
water left* 2atch the" :uic!ly, "y brave soldiers* (here are you going, boneheads/+
,owever, Forilla had already fled, dragging the "achine gun. Frabber rolled
behind hi", -ingling his iron interior. Feneral thought for a bit and ran after his
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soldiers. )'etreat* ,oorah* ,oorah* 'etreat*+ he shouted. Feneral reali;ed that under
conditions of general panic, an order to retreat would be the "ost correct. Later, he
could tell his soldiers that it had been planned this way fro" the very beginning.
%oo!ar got up fro" the floor. )Freat, we thrashed the"* =ow they wont bother us
for a long ti"e* #nly its unclear where they ca"e fro". They didnt fall fro" the s!y*+
#lga frowned and al"ost cried, seeing her dress stained and the blue bow "issing.
)%oo!ar, wont you help "e find "y bow/+
%oo!ar loo!ed around. )0ha, here it is* Loo!, #lga, the box was cut* (hat could this
"ean, huh/+
#lga loo!ed at the box with a hole on the side cut by Frabbers claws. )The soldiers
probably cli"bed out of the box. %eter hi"self is "ean and he has pushy toys. Loo! how
they soiled "y dress* (hat do I loo! li!e now/+
)<ou loo! fine*+ %oo!ar co"forted her. This did not console #lga.
)(here are the bunnies/ (here did they go/+
)(ere here*+ Sineus and Truvor loo!ed out fro" a half$opened des! drawer. They
were tre"bling a little and clinging to each other.
)(ell, you yellow$bellies* <ou dont have to be afraid. The soldiers have run away*+
said %oo!ar.
Forilla loo!ed out fro" under the boo!case at the other end of the roo" and
shouted, )Feneral ordered "e to tell you that well show you yet* (e retreated on
)>ust try* (ell beat you again* Ta!e your stupid %eter and get out of here*+ %oo!ar
cupped his hands so that his voice sounded louder.
Forilla threatened hi" with a fist and disappeared behind the boo!case.

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!ha"ter Ten
(!5$(&%T(%!E /&TH S!H#.(R!H2&%
(hen the toys returned to #lgas ho"e after the battle with the soldiers, @la"y and
Muffin were still asleep. Muffin, according to her "ood in general, could sleep all day,
wa!ing up only in cases of extre"e necessity. =ow, the cat was probably drea"ing that
she was cla"bering along a tall tree, because she was "oving her paws and turning her
head in her sleep. @la"y occasionally snored, releasing a s"all fountain of fla"e and
Muffin and @la"y were sleeping soundly. =o "atter how they were sha!en or
shouted at, it was all in vain. @inally, a luc!y thought ca"e into #lgas head to clin! the
lid of a pot above their ears. It wor!ed. I""ediately the sleepyheads wo!e up and began
to loo! around. #lga and %oo!ar described how they had fought with the soldiers.
),ow "any were there/+ @la"y as!ed.
)Three...+ %oo!ar, not very strong in arith"etic, counted on his fingers -ust in case.
)Then it wasnt 7obrynya =i!itich,+ @la"y sighed with relief.
)(hos this 7obrynya =i!itich/+ %oo!ar as!ed. )0 soldier/+
)I already told you about hi"* =ot a soldier, but a hero.+
)I saw 7obrynya =i!itich in a picture. ,es on a horse and has a sword,+ the doll
#lga said.
)%recisely... Then one of us ate the horse and left the sword. 0s I re"e"ber now, it
was such a huge sword,+ said @la"y.
),ow big/ ,ow "any !ilo"etres$"etres$centi"etres$
"illi"etres/+ so"eones thin little voice as!ed suddenly.
@la"y loo!ed around. )(ho said that/ 7id you, %oo!ar/+
he was surprised.
)=euh$uh, not "e,+ %oo!ar said.
)I did. ,ow "any !ilo"etres$"etres$centi"etres$
"illi"etres was the sword/+ the sa"e little voice repeated
Averyone saw a stranger in large glasses on a snub nose
and a funny red cap standing in the doorway of the dollhouse.
The stranger had on a green velvet -ac!et and blac! shoes with
white laces. ,e was holding a s"all briefcase in his hands.
)(ho are you/+ #lga was astonished.
)%lease excuse "e*+ the guest pronounced stiffly. )I forgot
to introduce "yself. I" the gno"e Scholarch!in, physicist$
)0re you fro" the sa"e box as the soldiers/+ the doll #lga as!ed suspiciously.
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)=o. I had the honour of arriving here in Mashas schoolbag. Aarlier, I lived in the
school, but now Ive decided to leave there. I cant watch how catastrophically the level
of education has fallen,+ the gno"e said.
%oo!ar opened his "outh to "a!e a spiteful re"ar!, but Muffin gave hi" a slight
s"ac! with her paw. She was a serious cat and loved to tal! about clever sub-ects.
)I utterly agree with you. 0 disgrace, si"ply a disgrace* It was all different in our
ti"e. The current generation -ust doesnt !now what theyre "issing,+ she "eowed,
turning to Scholarch!in. The two$year$old cat Muffin never studied anywhere but
considered herself terribly highly experienced and grown$up. =o one convinced her to
the contrary, because Muffin, when angry, i""ediately began to scratch and bite.
)<ou have the right views, respectable one* I fully agree with you. May I as!, with
who" do I have the honour of tal!ing/+ the gno"e as!ed.
)Muffin... That is, Martha,+ e"barrassed, the cat introduced herself.
)0nd I" @la"y*+ said the dragonet.
)@L0"y or @laM</ ,ow should you be correctly struc!/+ the gno"e as!ed with an
air of i"portance.
The dragon was offended. )=o need to stri!e "e. I can surrender*+ he growled.
)Thats not what I wanted to say. I" as!ing, where is the stress in your na"e/+
),es @L0"y* The stress is on Hfla*+ clever #lga said. She alone understood what the
gno"e had in "ind.
)I" %oo!ar... #lga... ,es Sineus... This is Truvor... Thats the twin hiding behind
#lga... 7ont pay any attention, hes shy...+ the friends were introduced.
)Iery, very nice... &ut lets return to our conversation. So how "any "etres$
!ilo"etres$centi"etres was 7obrynya =i!itichs sword/+ the gno"e pulled out an
abacus fro" the briefcase and clic!ed the beads.
@la"y thought for a bit. )I dont !now exactly how "any !ilothese there were. &ut it
was li!e this*+ ,e instantly transfor"ed into a sword, big and heavy. It was i""ediately
clear that this was a real sword for a hero. Averybody gasped. They, of course, already
!new earlier that @la"y !new how to transfor", but when a sword suddenly appeared
instead of @la"y, it was i"possible not to gasp.
)2uriouser and curiouser* Scientifi!er and scientifi!er... 0 curious speci"en*+
Scholarch!in approved.
The gno"e "easured the sword with a "easuring tape. )Two centi"etres three
"etres five !ilo"etres* To a T,+ he said. 0fter clic!ing the abacus, he too! out a s"all
noteboo! in an e"erald binding and recorded the di"ensions of the powerful sword.
0ll the toys, "ouths open, watched as the gno"e wrote carefully with a red pencil in
his little noteboo!. )0h* (hat a poetic loo! he has... %ity he isnt a cat...+ The cat Muffin
was carried away.
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Scholarch!in closed the noteboo!, hid it in the briefcase together with the abacus,
and stretched happily. )<ou have a nice place here* 2osy. Much better than a school
des!. I thin! Ill stay.+
)Stay, of course. &ut why did you leave the school/ It always see"ed to "e that its
nice there,+ #lga as!ed.
)Its not bad,+ Scholarch!in agreed with authority. )&ut indeed very noisy. Aarlier, I
suggested the correct answers to those who got twos and they fed "e sandwiches. I
!new the "ultiplication table by heart* I"agine* =ow, for so"e reason, Ive started to
forget everything. Three ti"es three is ten. @ive ti"es seven is forty$seven. Its li!e this
every ti"e* Ti"e for a vacation*+
)(here will you live/+ %oo!ar was worried. ,e li!ed Scholarch!in, but he did not
li!e the idea at all of that one settling in the boot with hi".
)I have a roo" to spare in the attic. Scholarch!in will be co"fortable there. #nly
have to sweep it,+ #lga too! the gno"e by the hand and led hi" to see his new ho"e.

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!ha"ter Eleen
THE -)STER&#$S (BD$!T&#% #F THE B$%%) TR$V#R
The gno"e Scholarch!in settled in the attic of the doll #lgas ho"e. There was no
bed, and a s"all co"fortable ha""oc! had to be hung up. The school gno"e li!ed the
new roo" very "uch. Scholarch!in lay in the ha""oc! all day and "ade notes in his
noteboo!. In the evening, he told stories, in which it was i"possible to believe. So, the
gno"e clai"ed that water in a !ettle beco"es hot when the little things ? M#LA2ELAS
? in it begin to run :uic!ly.
)That cant be* These "olecules would start to run free. (hat are they, trained/+
%oo!ar argued.
)I "yself have seen the" under a "icroscope* The "olecules are s"all and live in
the water li!e fish. (hile the water is cold, they swi" by the"selves :uietly, as in a pool,
but when the water starts to boil, they dart here and there very :uic!ly,+ said the gno"e.
)@or sure. The poor things* <ou would dart about this way too if they scalded you
with boiling water,+ #lga shoo! her head.
),iss$hiss* (hat are they, these "olecules/ (hat do they loo! li!e/+ @la"y was
Scholarch!in thought for a little bit, rubbed his forehead, and said uncertainly,
)Molecules, theyre li!e insects, only very s"all.+
%oo!ar loo!ed "aliciously at #lga. )&ugs and roaches/ 7oll, youve been fighting
with roaches but dont !now that theyre swi""ing in your tea and washing your feet.
(atch you dont cho!e on so"e bugs.+
%oo!ars words wor!ed. #lgas face beca"e tearfulB she waved her hands and ran
out of the roo". )Fot into a bad "ood. =ow shell sul! for an hour* 7oes she really have
to be so stupid/+ %oo!ar shrugged.
0fter their defeat, Forilla, Feneral, and Frabber appeared no "ore, and they were
gradually forgotten. It was even believed that the soldiers had "oved to another roo",
but it was not so, and the opportunity to "a!e sure of it soon introduced itself.
Enpleasant things began to happen in the roo". 0 piece of twine, on which %oo!ar
usually hung his soc!s out to dry, disappeared. 0t first, no one paid the disappearance
any attention because %oo!ar was always a scatterbrain. ,owever, when #lgas favourite
pot with white pol!a dots vanished, the toys gathered together and started to thin!.
%oo!ar assu"ed a serious loo!. )Ts!$ts!, the case is clear* (e cant "anage without
a sleuth here. Ill be Sherloc! ,ol"es, and you, Sineus, will be 7r. (atson. 7o you
understand, Sineus/+ he said.
)<es,+ the bunny whispered, dropping his eyes and ti"idly fidgeting with a foot.
)(hos this Sherloc! ,ol"es/+ as!ed @la"y.
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)Sherloc! ,ol"es is a great researcher, and 7r. (atson is his assistant.+
%oo!ar pulled the deerstal!er to his eyes and strolled around the roo". )(atson, do you
have any ideas/+
)=ada,+ the bunny babbled, barely audibly.
)So, its clear,+ %oo!ar said "eaningfully. )=o one has any ideas/ Then Ill start.+
The great detective turned around and closed his eyes. )#ne, two, three, four, five, Ill go
search* Loo! out, pot thief* The great ,ol"es goes on the warpath*+
)&etter tell "e wheres the pot/ Is it you who stole it/+ #lga hurried hi", watching
out for %oo!ars tric!s without any special ac!nowledge"ent.
)@irst conclusion.+ %oo!ar straightened the deerstal!er. )If theres no pot, then it
"eans so"eone too! it, because pots dont wal! by the"selves. Second conclusion. the
one who too! it was probably very hungry, because only a very hungry creature can eat
the sour !asha that #lga coo!s.+
)(hat did you say/ My !asha is sour/ If its sour, who as!ed you to gobble it up/+
#lga was offended.
)I eat the !asha out of sy"pathy,+ said %oo!ar.
),ere, Ill show you sy"pathy* 0re you actually going to find the pot or -ust
chitchat/+ #lga flew into a rage.
)I" going to. Ill find it in no ti"e at all. &ut first, lets find out if the pot was lost at
all. %erhaps you hid it so"ewhere so as not to coo! dinner/ 0h$h, "a"a*+ @leeing fro"
#lga, %oo!ar :uic!ly hid behind the cat Muffin and fro" there bravely stuc! his tongue
out at #lga.
It was not !nown how far the fighting would have gone but at that "o"ent @la"y
suddenly shouted, )Loo!* Theres our pot running*+ Averyone loo!ed around and saw
that the pot was :uic!ly crawling along the floor to the other side of the roo". It was
crawling by itself, co"pletely inexplicably.
)Muic!* (e still have ti"e to catch it*+ %oo!ar shouted.
)0 scientific sensation* 0 self$"oving pot*+ The gno"e Scholarch!in was delighted.
Averybody except the frightened bunnies, who re"ained in the house, rushed after
the pot. @la"y flew ahead. Muffin rushed behind hi" with soft bounds, Scholarch!in
clinging to her tail. %oo!ar barely !ept pace behind the cat. #lga, holding her s!irt, ran
)#f course, "il! boiled over at "y place. &ut this, a pot running off, this has never
happened to "e*+ #lga "uttered under her breath.
Meanwhile the pot was crawling :uietly by itself along the floor, so"eti"es
stopping as if teasing its pursuers. @ro" the outside, one would thin! that it was -ust
going for a wal!. Iery soon, the friends overtoo! it. @la"y grabbed the handle with his
teeth and held it until the others arrived. The cat Muffin arched her bac! and hissed.
The pot did not stir any"ore and did not try to crawl away.
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)Its not running by itselfB so"eone was dragging it with a rope,+ said Scholarch!in,
wal!ing around the pot and loo!ing at it through a "agnifying glass.
)This is "y soc! string that disappeared*+ %oo!ar yelled suddenly.
The friends all loo!ed at each other. They understood nothing.
)Its probably the soldiers. &ut why did they have to drag the pot by a rope/+ said
)Muite "ysterious. 0 secret, shrouded in "ystery... Loo!, Sineus is running to us*+
Stu"bling, Sineus ran up to the toys. ,e was so agitated that he could not utter a
word but only waved his paws. #lga had to ta!e hi" into her ar"s and hold hi" tight.
),es sha!ing li!e a -ac!ha""er*+ %oo!ar said in a"a;e"ent.
#nly after five "inutes did Sineus "anage to utter, )Truvor... The soldiers stole
Truvor* They also wanted "e, but I hid*+
)It cant be*+
)They waited until you ran after the pot and stole Truvor* They thought up
everything on purpose* Its all that tubby, whose hel"et slides down over his eyes*+

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!ha"ter T*ele
F.(-) S(VES TR$V#R
Feneral stood beside a "ap in his head:uarters behind the boo!case and
thoughtfully traced with a finger on the "ap, pretending to thin!. The "ap was drawn
on a scrap of wrapping paper and portrayed the roo" fro" above. Forilla had drawn the
"ap and it turned out to be extre"ely confusing. It was dusty behind the boo!case.
Forilla was constantly snee;ing so loudly that everything around shoo!.
)2an you snee;e any louder, bird brain/+ Feneral shouted at hi".
)<es, I can,+ Forilla growled. )0choo*+ It was such a powerful snee;e that the "ap
was torn off fro" the wall. The hel"et flew off Fenerals head and s"ac!ed against the
wall. &ang*
)3lut;* <oull give us away* (hy dont you put in so"e wor! with your head for a
change/+ Feneral sta"ped his feet.
)<es, 2o""ander* 0s you say* &ang*+ Forilla ra""ed his forehead into the wall
and s"iled contentedly.
)Ill shoot you, idiot*+ Feneral pulled out his pistol.
)=euh$uh, dont shoot*+ Forilla shoo! his head.
)Fee* <our water was all gone there.+
The !idnapped bunny Truvor was sleeping on a chair in front of Feneral. Since he
was a little bunny, he was used to sleeping during the day. Forillas terrible snee;e had
wo!en Truvor. The bunny wo!e up and began to tre"ble. Feneral saw that Truvor had
opened his eyes and was over-oyed.
)@inally* (eve been waiting for two hours for you to wa!e up* Tell "e the "ilitary
)I dont !now any secret,+ Truvor "uttered.
Feneral pouted. It see"ed a little longer and he would start to cry. )So boring* If
you dont !now, then thin!. 2o"e up with so"ething*+ he ordered.
)I would love to, but I" still little and I cant,+ Truvor whi"pered.
)@ine*+ Feneral got angry. )If you dont want to "eet us half$way, then dont... Then
well torture you* Forilla, proceed*+
)%roceed with what/+
)Torture, half$wit***+
Forilla scratched the bac! of his head, wal!ed hesitantly to Truvor and "ade a
savage face. ),u"ph* =ow Ill eat you* ,ow I love eating little bunnies*+
Truvor raised his sleepy face and saw Forillas silly face. ,e stopped crying, loo!ed
for so"e ti"e in bewilder"ent at the gri"acing Forilla, and suddenly burst out
laughing* 0"ong all the toys, Truvor was the one that laughed the easiest.
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)Stop* 2o"e here, Forilla* Ill explain to you how to torture*+ Feneral was furious.
,e was so "ad and turned so red that his hel"et beca"e red$hot.
Forilla obediently went to Feneral and they began to whisper. Then Forilla rolled
up his sleeves and approached the bunny. ,is ar"s were huge, hairy, and terrifying.
)Tell "e the secret or Ill torture you by tic!ling*+ he said and began to tic!le the bunny.
Meanwhile, the bunnys friends were thin!ing of how to rescue hi" and chase the
soldiers away fro" the roo".
)>ust so you dont po!e your nose into the", they have these nasty pistols that fire
burrs and paint. They instantly stain fro" head to toe,+ said #lga.
)7o you want "e to s"o!e the" out fro" there/+ @la"y released a -et of fla"e fro"
his nostrils.
The cat Muffin fanned the s"o!e away with a paw, )@orget it* <oull set so"ething
on fire*+
Sineus pleadingly touched the school gno"e with a hot paw. )Thin! of so"ething,
Scholarch!in* <oure so s"art* Thin! a bit and youll definitely co"e up with
Scholarch!in frowned and began to wal! around the roo". ,e was not accusto"ed
to thin!ing in a different way except on his feet. ,e had to wal!. #lga even wo!e up at
night so"eti"es because a restless Scholarch!in wal!ed in the attic above her head.
@la"y and Muffin watched Scholarch!in tensely. Their heads turned, following hi"
right$left, right$left. Several "inutes passed this way. Then the gno"e suddenly -u"ped
and shouted, )I have an idea*+
0n hour later Feneral, Forilla, and Frabber were playing hide$and$see!. It was the
only ga"e they !new. %erhaps if they had !nown "ore ga"es, the desire to fight would
have disappeared by itself. The soldiers left the bunny Truvor at the head:uarters
behind the boo!case. 0fter plenty of tic!ling, the heartily laughing Truvor had fallen
asleep and was snoring :uietly in the chair. ,e !new no "ilitary secrets and the soldiers
had lost all interest in hi".
The ga"e of hide$and$see! had only -ust begun. The robot Frabber was )it.+ ,e
stood, eyes closed, and counted to five. The robot was the only one of all the soldiers
who could be )it+ honestly, without pee!ing. Frabbers voice was raspy because he had
not been oiled for a long ti"e.
)#ne, two, three, three, three, three, three...+ Frabber rattled on.
)>a""ed again*+ Feneral said angrily, cli"bing out fro" under an old newspaper.
,e ran to the robot and turned the !ey in the bac!. Then he :uic!ly crawled under the
newspaper, trying not to rustle the pages.
)Three... three... four... five... ,ere I co"e*+ Frabber counted and opened his eyes.
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Two light bulbs served as his eyes. (hen the robot closed his eyes, the bulbs turned
off. =ow the bulbs lit up. Frabber loo!ed all around attentively. =obody* The robot
turned his trac!s on to the :uietest speed and went see!ing.
),i, I" here*+ The robot suddenly heard a loud unfa"iliar voice behind his bac!.
Frabber whipped around and clic!ed his claws, but saw no one, only an old red ball
lying on the floor. Frabbers eyes glowed so brightly in perplexity that the bulbs al"ost
burnt out. (hen he turned bac!, the red ball was gone.
Frabber found Forilla soon enough. ,e was hiding in the body of a wheel$less toy
truc!, which had been lying about behind the boo!case for a few "onths. The giant
:uic!ly tired of being in the truc!. ,e started to putter and sigh loudly. The truc! was
sha!ing co"pletely and al"ost bro!e apart.
Forilla and Frabber forgot about Feneral, found a big tennis ball, and began to
throw it. Feneral, lur!ing under the newspaper, was glad at first that no one found hi",
and then beca"e a little bored, but near the end al"ost howled fro" idleness. ,e
suddenly reali;ed that no one was loo!ing for hi" and got out fro" under the
newspaper. ,e was i""ediately !noc!ed over by the ball, which Frabber threw with
),alfwit*** <ou should be loo!ing for "e*+ Feneral yelled.
)Axcuse "e, 2o""ander* &ut you always get "ad when I find you. Today you were
hiding under the newspaper. <ou rustled and the hel"et pee!ed out,+ the robot growled.
Feneral sta"ped his foot, sul!ed, and gru"bled that they were all bloc!heads and it
was not clear at all why he played with the". )Lets go to head:uarters* (ell plan so"e
"ean tric! for those toys*+ a dissatisfied Feneral gru"bled.
(hen the soldiers reached head:uarters, Forillas foot suddenly hit against a round
ob-ect. )I have found a new ball* #range*+ Forilla was over-oyed, lifting his leg.
)(ow* (hat a huge orange* ,ow did we "iss it earlier/ 7ont you dare !ic! it* Its
very tasty*+ Feneral grabbed the orange.
)My orange* I found it*+ Forilla growled.
)I recogni;ed it* (ithout "e, you would thin! its a ball*+ Feneral went for his pistol
but re"e"bered that it was not charged.
)I found it*+ Forilla advanced threateningly on Feneral.
)Iery well, Ill share with you* The orange is big, enough for two,+ Feneral
recollected suddenly. ,e hoped that Forilla would forget about the orange and he could
eat it by hi"self.
0fter entering their little house "ade of newspapers, the soldiers put the orange on
the table and stared suspiciously at each other. Feneral s"iled unnaturally. Forillas
eyes shone with undisguised greed.
)7$dont y$you want to wash your hands/+ Feneral as!ed as casually as possible.
)=o, I dont* I never wash the"*+ Forilla !ept his eyes on the orange.
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)&ad* #ranges can only be eaten with washed hands* #therwise, they explode. <ou
wont have ti"e to open your "outh and ? &a"* ? it blows you up li!e a soft$boiled
egg*+ Feneral lied.
Suspicion started to stir on Forillas stupid face. )Then lets wash hands together*
Let the orange lie here for the ti"e being*+ he said.
Leaving Frabber on guard, Feneral and Forilla got out fro" behind the boo!case
and rinsed their hands in a s"all puddle. The neighbours above left traces of water all
over the floor, constantly flooding Mashas roo", and the puddle never dried. 0fter
washing, the soldiers rushed to the orange.
)3eep the peel for "e*+ Feneral was crafty.
)=o, for "e* Me* Me*+ Forilla argued.
)(ell, as you want... Ill let you have the peel* 0ll right, Ill ta!e the flesh,+ Feneral
,e decided to cheat the si"ple$"inded Forilla, and he would have succeeded, but
when they returned to head:uarters, they found that... the #'0=FA had disappeared***
)(here is it/ (hat have you done with it/+ The soldiers pounced on Frabber.
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)=o one ca"e into the roo"* =o one went near the orange. #nly the two of you*+
the robot rattled.
3nowing that Frabber could not lie, Feneral and Forilla stared at each other with
)Its you* <ou too! it*+ Feneral lost his te"per.
)=o, you* Five "e "y orange :uic!ly*+ Forilla began to sha!e Feneral li!e a !itten.
Fenerals teeth started chattering. )0 d$d$dis$s$grac$c$ce* L$let go r$right now* I"
your co$co""ander*+
Frabber "oved around the two and clic!ed his claws. ,e did not !now whose side
to ta!e.
Suddenly laughter rang out above the soldiers heads. ),a$ha* ,iss$hiss* ,a$ha*
The soldiers instantly stopped fighting and loo!ed up. =obody*
),a$ha* (hat fools* ,a$ha*+
It was worthwhile to see the soldiers faces at that "o"ent. The hel"et flew off
Feneral and his "outh opened by itself* Forilla beca"e red and again stopped
articulating )r,+ ),elp* Spoo!* Tewible wobber*+
Frabbers trac!s started to turn in different directions. The light bulbs flashed
brightly. ,e fired a stic!y at rando" fro" the gun barrel at his sto"ach. The stic!y flew
away into space and was seen no "ore.
)(hat fun* #h, I cant, funny*+ 0 cheerful voice rang out near the ceiling.
0ll of a sudden, one "ore Feneral, si"ilar to the for"er, li!e a twin brother,
appeared beside Forilla. ),iss$hiss* 3lut;* Frab that Feneral* ,es an i"postor* Iron,
forward*+ Feneral growled.
)I" real* ,ands off* =ot "e, grab hi"*+ The real Feneral was scared.
The two Fenerals ran around head:uarters and got entangled once and for all.
Forillas "outh fell open and he could not "ove. Frabber rushed fro" one Feneral to
the other, clic!ed his claws, and repeated, )2onflicting data* 2onflicting data*+
Then one of the two Fenerals disappeared and a twin Forilla appeared instead.
)Fuard* Substitute* (un for your life*+ the twin shouted.
)Ma"a* I" scared*+ the real Forilla yelled and ran right through the wall out of the
head:uarters "ade of newspapers. Frabber rolled out after hi".
0 scared Feneral raced behind. ,e held his hel"et and yelled, )(ait, where are you
going/ Its not according to regulations* I should be the first to retreat*+
=o sooner had the soldiers run out when a terrible crash was heard. It was %oo!ars
anti$guest traps snapping into action. (hile @la"y was distracting Feneral, Forilla, and
Frabber, %oo!ar and #lga stretched ropes and built anti$guest traps.
0 ripped$open pillow fell on Forilla. ,e i""ediately had a fit of snee;ing, cluc!ed
incoherently li!e a harassed chic!en, and fired the "achine gun until the thu"btac!s
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ran out. Frabber was tangled in the ropes and dangling in the air, turning his trac!s.
Feneral found hi"self in an e"pty -a" -ar. The -ar had been placed sideways, and
Feneral had barely run into it when the lid was closed. )&oo$boo* &oo$boo$boo$boo*+
ca"e fro" the -ar.
Then the friends freed the bunny Truvor. Sineus and Truvor were so pleased that
they were bac! together that they even started crying. They naturally wiped their tear$
stained faces on the doll #lgas apron.
)(ell/ <ou need this*+ #lga said severely to the soldiers.
)(e wont do it again* %lease forgive us*+ Forilla whi"pered, wiping his nose with
his huge fist.
)&oo$boo$boo$boo* &oo$boo$boo$boo*+ rang out fro" the -ar.
)Feneral says that hell try to refor",+ Scholarch!in translated.
@la"y flew out of the newspaper house, extre"ely satisfied. ),ow did I have the"/
H&ang* with the tail. 0nd he, HMa"a* ,ow that one -u"ps, but the piece of iron, that
one generally... ,ow he falls* ,iss$hiss* 0nd this one in the hel"et, when he sees "e,
thin!s that its hi"* Freat* 0nd I to hi", HThere* ,ere I a" for you* 0nd he, H0h$h*+
0lthough @la"ys story was incoherent, he had success with the audience. The cat
Muffin even as!ed with an )encore*+ for a repeat giving "ore attention to details.
)(hat shall we do with the soldiers/ %erhaps let the" go/+ the doll #lga interrupted
)Lets tic!le the"* Let the" tell their "ilitary secrets* I li!e that a lot*+ the bunny
suggested ti"idly.
)Ma"a* I" afraid of tic!ling* I" not playing this way*+ Forilla howled. ,e hopped
away on one leg with tre"endous speed, dragging the pillow with hi". The second leg
was caught in the pillowcase. Frabber ran after hi", ru"bling his iron interior. &ehind
the", loo!ing bac!, ran Feneral. )<ou forgot "e* The boss should retreat first*+ he
)Lost your hel"et* (hich way/+ the friends shouted after hi".
0fter a few days, %eter left for Tula and too! the box with the soldiers with hi".

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!ha"ter Thirteen
THE ,&!%&! #% THE R##F
@or a long ti"e %oo!ar, #lga, and Scholarch!in could not decide whether to tell
Masha about @la"y. ,owever, it all happened by itself.
),iss$hiss* I cant hide "y whole life. 0fter all, she isnt 7obrynya =i!itich. (hy
shouldnt we "eet/ I thin! "y "a"a wouldnt "ind,+ @la"y said.
)&ut you could beco"e invisible,+ the doll #lga proposed cautiously.
)Its boring to be invisible all the ti"e* Averyone loo!s at you li!e at an e"pty spot.
%ity*+ @la"y was upset.
)(ell, then go, "eet, once youve "ade up your "ind* <oull die fro" uncertainty*+
said %oo!ar.
(hen Masha was ho"e, @la"y got out of the cabinet, where he was hiding. ,e
wal!ed over to the girl and nudged her with his head.
)7ont bother "e, Muffin* 2ant you see that I" busy/+ Masha said, thin!ing that it
was the cat. ,owever, she still loo!ed down and saw a green dragonet with yellow eyes
and s"all wings on his bac!.
@la"y loo!ed fondly at the girl and uttered, ),i* I" @la"y*+
)0nd I" Masha,+ the slightly bewildered girl said.
)%hew,+ @la"y sighed in relief, )now weve "et* =ow we can chat about so"e polite
topic. 7o you have "ustard/+
)Mustard/ In the fridge, probably,+ Masha said, surprised.
)(ill you let "e ta!e it/+
)<es, of course. 7o you want "e to bring it/+
)7ont worry. I ate it all yesterday,+ @la"y bragged.
)(hy as! then/+
)>ust because. To !eep conversation going,+ @la"y spun around on the spot, trying
li!e a cat to catch his tail. #nly his tail was green and thin with notches. )I can never
catch it* 0n absolutely unpredictable tail. =o "atter how I try, it always "anages to slip
away at the last "o"ent,+ he co"plained.
Masha hesitantly touched the shiny scales on @la"ys bac!. She could not believe
that her conversational partner existed in reality.
)7o you li!e "e/ <ou can pet "e*+ @la"y gave her per"ission.
)<ouve already "et/ Then lets play*+ %oo!ar shouted, leaning out of his boot$
)(hat are we going to play/+
)=othing* (ere going for a wal! on the roof.+ %oo!ar -u"ped out of the boot. ,e
was in his usual field outfit. a pot on his head and a bottle$opener in his hands.
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)I dont !now. #f course, Ive al"ost done "y ho"ewor!, but...+ Masha said
)=o Hbuts... Freat adventures dont wait*+ %oo!ar was indignant.
Masha agreed to ta!e a wal! on the roof with the condition that none of the toys
would go up to the edge. )Its dangerous*+ she said. Muffin also started to "a!e up her
"ind. The roof was the place the cat always longed to be. There she could casually "eet
her beloved cat. ,oping for that, Muffin washed with a paw and "ade herself pretty.
&y a luc!y chance, the hatch to the roof turned out not to be loc!ed. The roof was
flat, enclosed by handrails along the edges. There was a light bree;e. @la"y i""ediately
began to fly and %oo!ar ran.
Muffin :uietly loo!ed around and, reali;ing there were no cats, got upset. )7idnt
"uch want to*+ she "ur"ured to herself under her breath.
Masha wal!ed around the roof a little bit, at first carefully, then "ore boldly. She
even ris!ed loo!ing down, holding the handrail tightly. So"ewhere far away cars,
loo!ing li!e toys, were going by.
)Loo! what I can do*+ @la"y yelled and deftly looped in the air. ,e beca"e so
twisted that for a "o"ent his head and tail al"ost touched. Masha even caught her
breath. She was afraid that @la"y would fall, though she was afraid in vain. @la"y
descended onto the roof next to the girl.
)=ever do that again* Its even scary to loo! at,+ Masha re:uested. @la"y stuc! out
his long for!ed tongue. ,e always did this when he was satisfied.
%oo!ar loo!ed around in search of new entertain"ent. ,is eyes caught the TI
antenna. It was a thin "etal tube, fro" which iron feelers ca"e out on both sides. )(hat
an outstanding swing* =ow well have fun*+ he shouted and rushed to the antenna.
%oo!ar and @la"y caught hold of the opposite ends of an antenna ele"ent and
started roc!ing. They s:uealed with delight and each ti"e too! off even higher.
)2o"e to us*+ they shouted to Masha.
)=ow no one can watch TI all over the building* <oure sha!ing the antenna*+
Masha threw up her hands.
)=onsense* (hat fool would be watching TI during the day*+ %oo!ar dis"issed it
and roc!ed even harder.
,owever, -ust at that "o"ent, %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina turned on the TI to watch
the news. =either %iro;h!ovs nor 0vdo!hinas TI was wor!ing. The screen only
)%robably so"ething with the antenna* ,ave to ta!e a loo!*+ %iro;h!ov thought and
ran out of the apart"ent. ,e certainly would have caught the pran!sters, but Muffin
heard hi" pounding up the stairs. The cat :uic!ly slapped Masha with a paw, forcing
her to listen.
),ere they co"e* ,ide, :uic!*+
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%oo!ar and @la"y -u"ped down fro" the antenna and started to rush about the
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)Muic!, behind the vent*+ Masha, who had already "anaged to hide, called the".
%oo!ar and @la"y dived for it. 0t that "o"ent, the o"nipresent %iro;h!ov
appeared on the roof and loo!ed around suspiciously. ,e loo!ed for a second at the
vent, and it see"ed to Masha, who was peering out fro" there, that %iro;h!ov noticed
her. ,owever, she was luc!y. %iro;h!ov turned away and wal!ed over to the antenna,
still continuing to sha!e.
)Strange* =o wind, but the antenna is sha!ing. I dont understand*+
%iro;h!ov reached out and held bac! the antenna. 0t that very "o"ent, 0vdo!hina
appeared on the roof. She had also decided to co"e up and see what was happening.
The first one 0vdo!hina saw was %iro;h!ov, doing so"e tric!s with the antenna.
0vdo!hina already had a low opinion of %iro;h!ov earlier. 0fter the recent incident
with the doors, this opinion did not i"prove. =ow, %iro;h!ov had ta!en it into his head
to sha!e the antenna. 0vdo!hina thought that he had gone nuts. ),ell even drop fro"
the roof, wac!o*+ she thought and, having decided not to curse, :uic!ly hid behind a
vent pipe ? fortunately not the one where Masha and @la"y were, but another. ,iding
behind the vent, 0vdo!hina accidentally stepped on a piece of rusty iron.
%iro;h!ov heard a noise and, turning, saw 0vdo!hina dive behind the vent. ,e
thought that she had been sha!ing the antenna to annoy hi" and then hid. Since
0vdo!hina rode the elevator and held the door to his apart"ent, %iro;h!ov considered
that she was capable of any dirty tric!. =ow he would tell her everything he thought of
her* %iro;h!ov rushed to 0vdo!hina.
Seeing that %iro;h!ov was running towards her, waving his hands, 0vdo!hina fro;e
and issued a high, prolonged screa". )Murder* ,elp*+ she wailed, sliding down the
%iro;h!ov ran after her. )Ill fix you* Ill expose you, you saboteur*+
(hen 0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov were out of sight, %oo!ar, @la"y, and Masha
loo!ed out fro" behind the vent.
)=ot bad fun* <ou, Masha, will have so"ething to re"e"ber in your old age.+
Masha laughed. She was still a long way fro" old age.

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!ha"ter Fourteen
(DVE%T$RES &% S!H##.
%oo!ar, Scholarch!in, @la"y, and the doll #lga were tired of sitting at ho"e all the
ti"e, and they urged Masha to ta!e the" to school with her. @or a long ti"e the girl
would not yield. She was not sure that the naughty ones would be able to behave :uietly.
,owever, Masha "ade up her "ind in the end. )If I leave %oo!ar and @la"y at ho"e,
theyll horse around again. 0t school, Ill be able to !eep an eye on the".+
Scholarch!in, %oo!ar, and #lga cli"bed into her bac!pac!. The dragonet @la"y
flew behind. ,e too! the opportunity to stretch his wings. =aturally, he beca"e invisible
so as not to attract attention.
)Ill put you in the des!* Sit :uietly and dont "a!e a noise* I didnt have ti"e to
study "ath yesterday and now I" afraid that Ill be as!ed*+ She threatened %oo!ar with
a finger.
In class, Masha too! out a textboo! fro" her bac!pac! and pushed the bac!pac!
deeper under her des! so that if the toys started to whisper, they would not be heard.
)(ell start the lesson. =ow Ill chec! your ho"ewor!*+ the teacher 0nna Ivanovna
said directly fro" the doorway.
She was :uite young, -ust fro" the Institute, and all the ti"e it see"ed to her that
she was not ta!en seriously. She gave twos to the pupils without a special reason, and
paled and pursed her lips at the sight of the principal. The principal of Mashas school
was very strict, and with a truly pirate cruelty li!ed to su""on parents and give the"
heat. ,is na"e was Agor %etrovich.
%oo!ar :uic!ly beca"e bored in the bac!pac! and nudged #lga. )%hew* =o fun this
way. I" not going to hang around here all "y life*+
)7ont push*+
#lga wanted to return the favour and pinched %oo!ar. ,e pulled her braid. She
whi"pered and began concentrating on twisting his ear.
)If you tear it off, youll have to sew it bac! on*+ %oo!ar hissed.
Masha heard the rac!et and loo!ed under her des!. The teacher 0nna Ivanovna
loo!ed up fro" the -ournal.
)Sviridova* <ou cant sit still/ To the board with your ho"ewor!*+ the teacher said
Masha felt cold. (hy had she not been as!ed yesterday, when everything was all
right/ The unluc!y is so unluc!y.
)Sviridova* (hat are you waiting for/ =ot ready/+
If Masha answered )no, not ready,+ it would be a certain two and perhaps her
parents would even be su""oned to the school. The girl fro;e, not !nowing what to do.
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)7ont be afraid* Ill help you*+ the gno"e Scholarch!in whispered and slipped into
Mashas poc!et. %oo!ar cli"bed after hi" to escape fro" the doll #lga.
Masha went to the blac!board. The teacher opened the textboo!. )The proble". the
train goes at fifty !ilo"etres an hour. ,ow long will it ta!e the train to get fro" city 0 to
city & if the distance between the cities is a thousand !ilo"etres/+
Masha started to wait for Scholarch!ins help. It was her only hope of not getting a
two. ,owever, before the gno"e could open his "outh, %oo!ar said, )0 wee!, no less.
That is, if the driver doesnt fall out of the loco"otive*+
)0 wee!*+ Masha too! %oo!ars voice for Scholarch!ins. ,owever, she i""ediately
understood fro" the teachers face that she had "ade a "ista!e.
)(hat !ind of circus are you "a!ing for "e/ ,uh, Sviridova/+ 0nna Ivanovna
frowned sternly.
)Itll ta!e the train twenty hours*+ Scholarch!in whispered and covered %oo!ars
"outh so he would not "eddle again.
)The trip fro" city 0 to city & will ta!e twenty hours,+ Masha confidently wrote the
answer on the board. 0nna Ivanovna loo!ed at her with surprise and "oved the -ournal
away. )2orrect. =ow add LD5 and 5DL.+
)1GD1*+ Masha blurted out after Scholarch!in.
The teacher was even "ore surprised. She as!ed :uestions again and again, and
Masha i""ediately gave the answers. It see"ed suspicious to 0nna Ivanovna.
Moreover, Masha had not distinguish herself with an ability for "athe"atics before.
)<ou thin! you can cheat, Sviridova/ (hat do you have in your poc!et/ 0
calculator/ (ell, hand it over*+
Masha was frightened. (hat would the teacher say when she saw %oo!ar and
Scholarch!in/ 0nna Ivanovna held out her hand and loo!ed expectantly at her. Masha
wanted above all to sin! through the floor.
0t this point, so"eone !noc!ed i"periously and the principal entered the
classroo". 0s usual, he was absorbed and holding a thic! stac! of -ournals in his hands.
),ows the class/+ The principal loo!ed at 0nna Ivanovna.
)(ell, Agor %etrovich, Sviridova here brought a calculator to class. <ou yourself
forbade the use of a calculator in lessons*+ The teacher, for so"e reason, started to "ove
the paper on the table.
Masha fro;e. what would it be now/ If only she would get a two* The girl !new Agor
%etrovich well. ,e would su""on her parents for sure* (hy had she yielded to the
persuasion of the toys/ ,owever, the principal was acting odd today.
)0 calculator, you say/ (hats a calculator/ Is it tastier than "ustard/+
The principal s!ipped to the teacher and sla""ed the -ournal. Then Agor %etrovich
so"ersaulted and hung in the air for a second. The teacher loo!ed at hi" and -ust
opened and closed her "outh. Food that she had a young, healthy heart* Masha and all
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her class"ates also fro;e with wide$open eyes. It is not every day you see the principal
so"ersaulting and shouting, ),ooray* Andless vacation* 7own with school*+
It is i"possible to describe what happened next. The principal ran around the
classroo" and tossed textboo!s up in the air. There was no doubt the children were not
too disturbed by this. #ne eager round$headed boy even threw his bac!pac! out the
window and then had to run onto the street after it.
0nna Ivanovna first sat :uietly and then began to sob barely audibly. It was obvious
that she was still very young, al"ost a girl.
The principal Agor %etrovich began stro!ing her on the head and repeating, )2al"
down, goosey* ,iss$hiss* >ust dont cry* 7o you want "e to raise your salary a thousand
ti"es/ =o/ 0 "illion/+
,ere it was as if lightning struc! Masha* @la"y* ,e did all this* ,e beca"e the
principal to help her. Masha beca"e unco"fortableB she ran up to the teacher and
:uic!ly began to explain, )This isnt the real principal* ,es a "essenger* In reality, hes
a young dragon. #nly dont tell anyone*+
)Iery well*+ 0nna Ivanovna assured her. )I wont tell anyone. Ill never, never tell
She held her head in her hands and ran out of the classroo". The first one she ca"e
across was the real Agor %etrovich, who was co"ing up the stairs to "eet her.
)(hy arent you in class/ (hats that noise/+
The teacher stared at the principal with "ad eyes. )<ou -ust pro"ised to raise "y
salary a "illion ti"es* %lease dont forget* To"orrow Ill bring a suitcase especially. 0nd
why did you stop so"ersaulting, Agor %etrovich/+
0nna Ivanovna and the principal ran into the classroo". ,owever, everything there
was already :uiet. The children were :uietly solving "athe"atical proble"s. Masha had
ti"e to warn the".
)I dont understand*+ Agor %etrovich was at a loss. ,e went with 0nna Ivanovna to
the office to ta!e valiu".
Masha decided fro" then on never to bring %oo!ar and @la"y to school.

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!ha"ter Fifteen
F.(-) SE(R!HES F#R -(-(
#nce Masha, the doll #lga, @la"y, and %oo!ar watched a cartoon about dinosaurs
on TI. The prehistoric "onsters were rushing about on the screen, biting, flying, and
devouring leaves fro" treetops. There were also pterodactyls, the enor"ous flying
pterosaurs, and tyrannosaurs, and all !inds of s"all dinosaurs. 0ll this re"inded Masha
of school recess, when everybody was running, shouting, and pushing so senselessly.
The cartoon was interesting. Masha could not tear herself away fro" the screen.
Suddenly, she heard so"eone sobbing nearby. The girl turned and saw that a large clear
tear was crawling down @la"ys face and he was trying to lic! it off with his long for!ed
)It re"inded "e of "y "a"a. I "iss her so*+ said @la"y.
),ow did you get lost/+
)I decided to travel. I still couldnt fly. (hen I crossed a branch of the river, the
current carried "e away. I swa" for a few days and was very tired. Then I got into the
trun! and fell asleep. (ho would !now that the s"ell of "othballs lulls dragons to
sleep/ If it werent for you, I wouldve slept a hundred years "ore.+
)%oor thing* If you want, Ill be your "other.+ Masha felt sorry for @la"y.
@la"y put his head on the girls !nees. )7ont be offended* <oure nice, but I would
li!e to find "y own "a"a.+
)So lets search for her* Ill find your "a"a in five "inutes* (hat are we doing -ust
sitting here and wasting ti"e/+ %oo!ar yelled i"patiently.
Masha pic!ed up %oo!ar and gave hi" a good sha!e. )&e :uiet, please* 7ont
disturb us*+
%oo!ar sul!ed, upset, but then saw a bowl of sweets, got into it, and began to "unch
on a coo!ie.
)(e have to as! the gno"e Scholarch!in. ,e !nows everything. @or sure he !nows
about your "a"a too,+ #lga proposed.
Scholarch!in got out of the ha""oc! and began to wal! on the windowsill. @la"y,
eyes wide, loo!ed trustingly at hi".
)Aure!a*+ the gno"e uttered five "inutes later. )(hen I was a child, "y "other
constantly repeated what I should do if I were lost. Fo to any respectable old "ouse and
say, H,ello, "y na"e is Scholarch!in. I live in the school, behind the radiator. 2ould you
help "e find "y "a"a/+
)I also re"e"ber. (hen we went to 7isneyland, Ma"a told "e to wait for her near
the castle if I got lost*+ Masha said.
)(ere you lost/+ @la"y as!ed hopefully.
)=o, I wasnt,+ Masha fran!ly ad"itted.
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)Thats it, and yet you say...+ @la"y sighed. ,e see"ed de-ected and unhappy.
Suddenly, however, @la"ys face brightened as if he had a good idea.
)I re"e"ber. My "other taught "e to whistle the special dragon whistle* Three
ti"es* 0t three in the afternoon* Then shell hear and find "e.+
)(hats this special dragon whistle/+ %oo!ar, dying of curiosity, stuc! his head out
of the bowl of coo!ies.
)I studied with =ightingale the 'obber.
0fter Ilya Muro"ets
!noc!ed out his
teeth, =ightingale could not whistle, and until he had new ones put in, he wor!ed as a
tutor,+ @la"y said.
#lga loo!ed at her watch. )Its already three* Ti"e to whistle.+
)Its always three on your toy watch* The hands are stuc!.+ %oo!ar conte"ptuously
waved his chubby hand.
0ll the sa"e, at three ocloc! @la"y went out onto the balcony and as!ed everyone
to cover up their ears. ,e said that one could easily beco"e deaf fro" a dragons
whistle. The cat Muffin did not believe it and afterwards rubbed her ears with a paw for
a long ti"e.
@la"ys whistle instantly opened the windows in all of the neighbouring ho"es and
threw up a whole pile of garbage and papers. So"e people later clai"ed that there was a
hurricane in Moscow. %iro;h!ov even intended to co"plain so"ewhere but never did.
)(ell* ,opefully Ma"a will co"e for "e. Its unli!ely that she has forgotten "e for
a hundred years,+ @la"y said.
)My "a"a would never forget "e for a thousand years. Enfortunately, I" fro" an
asse"bly line,+ %oo!ar sighed.

=ightingale the 'obber is the legendary robber fro" epic poetry of 3ievan 'us. ,e lived in a forest on
the road to 3iev and was !nown for stunning strangers with his powerful whistle while sitting in a tree.
Ilya Muro"ets is one of the greatest of all 3ievn 'us epic hero. ,e is believed to be a 11
century warrior
who beca"e a "on! in later life. #ne of his first feats was defeating =ightingale the 'obber.
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!ha"ter Si1teen
,&R#0H2#V (%D THE ,&%2 E.E,H(%T
#nce the gno"e Scholarch!in told the friends about the ;oo. )(hats not there*
&ears, giraffes, lions, ;ebras, and on the whole, everything, everything.+
)Averything/ 0re there cats/+ Muffin purred curiously.
)I dont thin! so. Axcept for so"e strays. =o, no cats,+ said Scholarch!in.
Muffin sighed with disappoint"ent.
)2oc!roaches/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
)=o coc!roaches,+ the dwarf ad"itted.
)7ragons/ Tell "e, have you seen at least one dragon there/+ @la"y as!ed with
)=ot one,+ Scholarch!in said fran!ly.
%oo!ar burst out laughing. )Its still called a ;oo* =o cats, no dragons, no
coc!roaches. I wouldnt go to such a stin!ing ;oo for any "oney* 0nd dont try to tal!
"e into it*+ %oo!ar declared, although no one was trying to persuade hi" personally.
)&ut then our ho"e has a cat, a dragon, and coc!roaches. It turns out that our
apart"ent is a thousand ti"es better than a ;oo. =o need to go anywhere, and no line at
the cashier,+ #lga agreed with %oo!ar for the first ti"e.
0t that "o"ent, the thought flashed in %oo!ar to open a ;oo in the roo". ,e
i""ediately shared his idea with the others. )(e could charge a high entrance fee. @or
exa"ple, a fish, a -ar of "ustard, a raisin pie, and thirty$two ca!es for each visitor.+
)@ish, this is very good,+ the cat Muffin said, lic!ing her lips. )&ut why so "any
)@or the ;oo director.+
)0nd who will be the director/+
)Me, naturally,+ %oo!ar dropped his eyes.
The next day %oo!ar got up earlier than usual and began to sort through the
enor"ous pile of all sorts of things, which occupied half of all the living space of his
)(here are they/ Should be here. I re"e"ber, I stuc! the" so"ewhere here,+
%oo!ar "uttered.
7ifferent and unexpected ob-ects in the hundreds e"erged fro" and instantly
vanished into the pile. the handle of a !ettle, a trap door, du"bbells for !ids, a -ar of
Iaseline, 2hrist"as crac!ers, paper clips, rubber bands, and "uch "ore.
%oo!ar buried hi"self in the pile of rubbish al"ost to his head and shovelled it
aside with both hands li!e a "ole. Suddenly, %oo!ar shouted happily and pulled out a
tattered s!etchpad and a do;en "ulti$coloured felt$tip pens. ,e tore a few sheets fro"
the s!etchpad and, stic!ing out his tongue diligently, began to draw na"eplates for the
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future ;oo. ,e wrote ELEFUNT on one page, MONKEE on another, DRAGUN on a
third. ,e drew a picture under each caption.
%oo!ar was in a great hurry, and therefore not all the pictures turned out e:ually
)good.+ So"e ani"als could only be recogni;ed fro" the explanatory captions. @or
exa"ple, a well$fed behe"oth with a cats tail was drawn on the na"eplate with the
caption KAT.
,aving finished his wor!, %oo!ar gathered his na"eplates and ran out of the boot,
)Ele$unt, monkee,
%ragun and kat.
&ere's a song
(ookar begat)+
@la"y was lic!ing the botto" of the "ustard -ar with his for!ed tongue when
%oo!ar ca"e to hi" in a great hurry. ),i* Ive already prepared everything for the ;oo* It
opens right now*+
)'eally/ My -ar doesnt want to be lic!ed clean. Still a little "ustard left on the
botto", but "y tongue cant reach it.+
)<ou drop the -ar* Its already e"pty. =ow our ;oo needs a good ad. 0nd I want you
to do it.+
)07/ (hats that/+
),ere it is*+ %oo!ar hung a na"e board around @la"ys nec!.
)0nd where do we get a flying elephant/+ @la"y as!ed.
)Fuess a hundred ti"es*+ %oo!ar suggested. )<ou will be the flying elephant*
7ragons indeed !now how to turn into elephants/+
)7ragons !now everything. ,ow do flying elephants loo!/+
)They loo! basic. Theyre so... so big and pin!. ,ere, Ive s!etched for you roughly
what an elephant should loo! li!e,+ said %oo!ar. ,e handed @la"y a sheet, on which
was drawn a sabre$toothed "onster with ears spread out widely.
)'eally, so horrible/ (hy so "any teeth/+
)Teeth are li!e "oney, there is never enough,+ %oo!ar assured hi".
),""... (ell, if you thin! so* #!ay, Ill try,+ @la"y sighed, after loo!ing at the
picture to re"e"ber it better.
@la"y started wor!ing his wings, lifted off fro" the floor with difficulty, and flew
out the window. ,aving flown around the building, he got in through the open window
of the entrance and sat on the landing in front of Mashas apart"ent.
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)(ell/ Averything o!ay/+ %oo!ar yelled through the door at the dragon.
)<es. Axcellent. =ow Ill change.+
)0nd watch you s"ile with char"* 0 s"ile is the first thing in advertising*+
#lga, the cat Muffin, and the bunnies were loo!ing at pictures in a "aga;ine when
%oo!ar ca"e to the" in a hurry with na"eplates for the ;oo.
)(hat are you la;ybones doing here/ (ell, loo! lively* The first visitors are -ust
about to appear and were still not ready,+ %oo!ar shouted.
)Iisitors to the ;oo/ 0re they really truly co"ing/+ The bunnies were surprised.
)'eally truly, "y little pigs*+ %oo!ar said and handed Sineus and Truvor the
na"eplate GINEE PIGS.
)(ho are these ginee *igs/+ the bunnies as!ed.
)<ou. =o slac!ing off. (or! is wor!,+ %oo!ar explained.
Muffin got a na"eplate with KAT.
)Indeed, I dont !now whether I loo! good. 2ats "ight co"e, and I" such a slob*+
Muffin started to worry.
)<a!ety$ya!* 7oesnt "atter, whoever "ust will "arry you*+ %oo!ar "i"ic!ed her.
The doll #lga was watching %oo!ar suspiciously while he fussed, handing out
)I have so"ething for you, #lga. Fuess what/ <oull be "ad with happiness. @or
such a s"art beauty, I put aside so"ething special,+ %oo!ar said "aliciously to her.
)(ell, what else is there/+ The doll beca"e involuntarily interested. She thawed a
good deal after the co"pli"ent.
),ere* @or this role youll need all of your beauty and char"*+ %oo!ar handed her
the last na"eplate.
)I dont !now whether Ill "anage...+ ,ere #lga loo!ed at the caption and flared up.
)MONKEE* =ow Ill show you, illiterate %oo!ar* <oull !now how to call na"es*+
)=o ti"e to argue*+ %oo!ar said :uic!ly, running further away fro" the enraged
doll. )The first ;oo visitors are about to co"e. The pin! elephant has already been
advertising for half an hour.+
)(hat pin! elephant/+ Muffin and #lga as!ed in unison.
)@la"y, of course. ,e turned into a pin! elephant and is sitting on the landing in
front of the door.+
#lga stared at %oo!ar with eyes opened wide with terror. %oo!ar already reali;ed
fro" one of her loo!s that he had done so"ething wrong.
)<ou released @la"y fro" the apart"ent* (hat will happen now/ Theyll catch hi"
and ta!e hi" away to a real ;oo, not your toy one* =o one "ust see hi"*+ #lga went
after %oo!ar.
)True* (hat an idiot I a"*+ %oo!ar grabbed his head.
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#lga and %oo!ar rushed at top speed to the front door, hoping that they would be
able to bring @la"y bac! in ti"e. ,owever, it was already too late. 0gain, the "atter was
not "anaged without %iro;h!ov.
(hen @la"y turned into a pin! elephant and sat on the threshold, %iro;h!ov was
-ust co"ing up on the elevator. @la"y had beco"e such a big pin! elephant that he
occupied the whole landing. ,is feet stuc! out to the stairs and his head with pin! folded
ears rested against the ceiling. ,e was listening industriously and waiting for the first
visitors. #n hearing that the elevator had stopped on that floor, he put on a rosy sabre$
toothed s"ile.
%iro;h!ov was riding the elevator and thin!ing that the yard$!eeper did not clear
the leaves away fro" the lawn again and that it would not be bad to co"plain about her
to so"e not$very$internal organi;ations, for exa"ple, the 2areta!er 0ssociation. In
short, his thoughts were the furthest fro" functional.
The elevator door opened and %iro;h!ov saw a pin! "onster, listening and holding
a ZOO sign in front of it. The "onster was s"iling happily at %iro;h!ov. The pin!
elephants teeth were sharp and re"inded one of an alligator.
)0n$ani"als loose*+ %iro;h!ov "uttered auto"atically and suddenly shouted in a
thin, shrill voice, ),elp* (ild elephants*+
%iro;h!ov rushed down the stairs, yelling, ),elp* ,ide* Ill co"plain* <ou wont get
away with it*+ 'eali;ing that %iro;h!ov had fled, #lga and %oo!ar ran out onto the
landing and began to push @la"y towards the apart"ent.
)I understand nothing* ,e saw "e and ran away. %erhaps I s"iled badly/+ @la"y
was upset.
)=ot bad at all,+ %oo!ar consoled hi". )It was the "ost char"ing predatory s"ile
Ive ever seen*+
)2hange bac! :uic!ly* If you linger, theyll catch hold of you*+ #lga hurried @la"y.
)(hat about advertising/ 0nd "y "ustard/+ @la"y was surprised.
)0dvertising is cancelled. The idea of the ;oo was as stupid as the one who thought
it up*+ #lga said, loo!ing angrily at %oo!ar.
The pin! elephant loo!ed down. 0 large tear rolled down his chee!. ,aving hit the
floor, the tear splashed apart. #lga stro!ed a pin! elephant paw. )7ont be distressed,
@la"y* I have a -ar of "ustard for you. <ou can eat it right now.+
)'eally/ Then lets hurry*+ @la"y was instantly consoled.
7own below on the first floor, there were loud voices and the sound of the elevator.
)Its here, I tell you* Such a strong elephant* They ac:uired an elephant, you !now,
and then threw it out on the stairs. (e !now this sort* <ou have to put it to sleep and
ta!e it so"ewhere,+ %iro;h!ovs voice rang out.
)(ell, change* (hat are you waiting for* Theyll be here now*+ #lga whispered to
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@la"y loo!ed at her guiltily. )=othing turns out for "e* I need to concentrate, or
else instead of a dragon Ill turn into so"e crap.+
)Mustard* Thin! of "ustard*+ %oo!ar re"inded hi".
The pin! elephant tensed up, turned red, and ? %##@* ? a dragon appeared in its
place. 0 few "ore seconds and it would have been too late. The elevator had already
stopped on this floor. The pran!sters had "anaged to slip into the apart"ent in the next
second. %oo!ar :uietly closed the door.
%iro;h!ov, a police"an, and a doctor in a white coat appeared on the landing.
)=ow see for yourself* Such a pin! elephant* Sitting and s"iling. <ou understand, it
interferes with spending honestly earned ti"e. Such a toothy elephant...+ %iro;h!ov
"uttered, bac!ing out of the elevator.
,ere he fro;e with his "outh open, seeing that there was no elephant, neither red
nor pin!, on the landing. The police"an and the doctor exchanged glances. )(ell,
wheres your elephant/+
)It was here* I re"e"ber exactly*+ %iro;h!ov ran around the landing. )Such a huge
elephant, head resting against the ceiling... 0nd pin!* %erhaps its hiding so"ewhere...
Say, under the rug... ,uh/+
)So youre saying there was an elephant here/+ the doctor as!ed with curiosity.
)0nd pin!/+
)0nd big/+
'eali;ing that they did not believe hi", %iro;h!ov reddened. )It was here* I
re"e"ber exactly* It even invited "e to the ;oo,+ he yelled.
)(ho invited you to the ;oo/ The elephant/+ the doctor as!ed with growing interest.
)<es, the elephant* <ou dont believe "e/ &y the way, I" active in public life. Ill
co"plain about you* There was an elephant. Ill repeat to the letter. such enor"ous
trash*+ %iro;h!ov s:uealed.
The police"an sniffed. )&reathe, please*+ he suddenly as!ed.
)I" not drun!... Ill co"plain... 0ll of a bottle of beer in honestly earned ti"e...+
%iro;h!ov got excited. )<ou dont believe "e/+
)(e believe you... of course, we do...+ the doctor cal"ed hi". )(ell, an elephant... 0
pin! one... Tal!ing... (hats so special about it/ Lets go in the car, the driver also wants
to hear*+
The doctor and the police"an held onto %iro;h!ov fir"ly by the elbows and,
supporting hi" carefully, brought hi" to the elevator.
)Its all the people fro" the neighbouring apart"ents... Theyre to bla"e for
everything... =oisy, cats "eowing, and now even breeding elephants... I" so not leaving
this alone* I !now everything*+ %iro;h!ov shouted.
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)Averybody !nows everything. %lease dont stu"ble, heres the threshold,+ the
doctor cal"ed hi".
The elevator left.
)%hew* Its over... &ut no "ore ;oos* @ind yourself another fool*+ %oo!ar said when
everything was finished.
)(e wont find another... <ou, %oo!ar, dont be so "odest,+ #lga assured hi".

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!ha"ter Seenteen
THE +H#ST &% THE J(- J(R
)7oesnt it see" to you, dear, that strange things have begun to happen in our
ho"e/+ Mashas "a"a as!ed one evening.
)Li!e what/+ %apa responded la;ily, loo!ing up fro" the newspaper.
)(ell, for exa"ple, the cups fro" the tea service. I leave the" in one place and find
the" in another. Then the "ustard. Its finished so fast that I dont have ti"e to buy
new -ars. 0nd finally, the toys. I put the" in the closet in the "orning, Masha was at
Frand"as all day, and in the evening I loo!, theyre again scattered any which way.+
)=onsense* 7ont thin! about it,+ %apa shrugged. )=othing surprises "e any"ore.
@or exa"ple, yesterday so"eone solved the crossword in the newspaper. It was as if
so"eone pro"pted the correct answers in "y ear. &y the way, do you re"e"ber a
seven$letter word for a pugnacious bird/+
)'ooster...+ was clearly heard in the roo". )'ooster**+
%apa glanced around :uic!ly. ),ere and now* 7id you hear so"ething/+
)=othing... %robably the TI,+ Ma"a suggested.
)&ut I heard so"eone say '##STA' twice... H'ooster ? the pugnacious bird.
Axactly seven letters. It fits.+
Ma"a and %apa loo!ed at each other uneasily.
)Its a poltergeist,+ Ma"a shivered. )0 poltergeist established itself in "y friends
ho"e and various wonders started to happen. They had to invite a psychic. The psychic
said that it was all aliens. They study our reactions. %erhaps we should also invite a
),ow "uch does it cost/+
)=ot "uch,+ Ma"a said, na"ing the price.
)@orget it* (hat, you want to ruin us/+ %apa was startled.
)@ine,+ Ma"a retreated te"porarily. )(ell tal! about this later. 7o you re"e"ber
%iro;h!ov in the next apart"ent/+
)The one constantly co"plaining/ ,avent seen hi" for a long ti"e. ,es not sic!/+
)(orse. %iro;h!ov i"agined pin! elephants everywhere. ,e says that theres a
universal conspiracy against hi".+
%apa whistled and twisted a finger at his te"ple. )%oor fellow* ,e always see"ed
rather strange to "e.+
)Its all poltergeists. They got to hi". Lets call the psychic* %lease*+
)#ne, two, three, four, five... I" perfectly cal",+ %apa said, plugging up his ears
with his fingers. )I see nothing and hear nothing. I" perfectly cal".+
@la"y flew into the roo" and told the toys everything that he had overheard fro"
the adults. In retelling, he changed now to %apa, now to Ma"a, and i"itated their
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voices. The others listened. In the evenings, the dragonet had ta!en to snea!ing
unnoticeably into the roo" of Mashas parents and, re"aining invisible, watched TI or
listened to their conversations. So"eti"es he could not control hi"self and butted into
the conversation. ,e loved to solve crossword pu;;les, and so"eti"es when Mashas
%apa got stuc!, pro"pted hi" :uietly.
)(ell, well,+ %oo!ar said, after @la"y had finished his story. )This "eans a
poltergeist has established itself in here* I always !new it*+
)<oure out of your "ind* ,ow did he get in here/+
)Its obvious,+ said %oo!ar.
),ow obvious/+
)This obvious* (here theres a s"art, attractive baby boy doll, a learned gno"e, and
a dragon, a poltergeist can perfectly appear. Thats for sure.+
The gno"e Scholarch!in got out of his ha""oc! and approached the toys. Lately,
li!e any real inventor, he led a nocturnal life and slept in the day in the attic of the
dollhouse. Scholarch!in lived on beet and potato salad, which he pulled out of the
fridge, and "ost of all loved to pic! the peas out of it.
)0 poltergeist isnt a scientific pheno"enon. 7o you !now how "any "etres$
centi"etres$litres$!ilogra"s there are in a poltergeist/ There you are* So, it doesnt
exist*+ Scholarch!in declared.
)&ut %apa and Ma"a cant tell a lie* Theyre adults*+ #lga argued.
)Lets assu"e they can all tell lies* The "ore grown$up a person, the bigger the lie.
#ne fa"ous cat philosophier ca"e up with it,+ Muffin purred.
)(hich philosophier/ 7o I !now her/+ Scholarch!in as!ed.
)<ou do,+ Muffin "eowed with confidence. )2an even say youre ac:uainted with
her. (ell, have you guessed/ Its "e*+
)0ha,+ said %oo!ar. )Aven to spea! a half$truth isnt to lie. @or exa"ple, a boy pulled
a chocolate bar fro" the bowl, and Ma"a as!ed hi", H7id you eat the chocolate/ H=o,
he replied. HI didnt.+
)The boy lied to Ma"a*+
)=othing of the !ind* The boy told the truth* Lets assu"e he hasnt eaten the
chocolate yet, only hid it. The boy isnt guilty, but his "uddle$headed "a"a cant as!
the right :uestions.+
)=ow, %oo!ar, Ill !eep chocolate away fro" you. <ouve confused "e co"pletely
with your bad boys,+ #lga said crossly.
)<ou "uddled$headed doll*+ %oo!ar sighed. )>ust why do I tolerate you/ 0t least
you have so"e "erits. @or exa"ple, your apple -elly isnt bad. Though you spill it
)7ont :uarrel*+ Sineus and Truvor held %oo!ar and #lga by the hands with their
own soft paws.
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&eyond the window, the "oon slowly rose to the s!y covered with lilac clouds. This
did not ta!e place unnoticed by Muffin. She :uic!ly swallowed the last bit of cat food
and got into a "elancholy "ood. )0h* 0h*+
)#h, no* =ow it begins. Avery evening its one and the sa"e*+ %oo!ar "uttered with
the !nowledge of the "atter.
Muffin loo!ed with fascination out the window, sitting on the edge of the
windowsill. 0 drea"y expression was printed on her face.
)(hat a "oon* In such "o"ents one doesnt want to thin! of anything, -ust loo!,
loo!, loo!... Sweet tears roll to the heart and one wants to cry. If only it was forever,+ the
cat purred hus!ily.
)In order to whine, whine, whine forever...+ %oo!ar was about to start but, having
received a :uic! cuff by a cats paw, re"ained silent.
)0 pale$pin! s!y all shrouded in clouds li!e a se"i$transparent veil. The blue face of
the "oon loo!s through this airy veil...+ @la"y said drea"ily.
Muffin stared at hi" in a"a;e"ent. Then she twisted co:uettishly and purred, )I
didnt !now that youre a poet. Its so ro"antic. 7ear, dear, @la"y* Such !inship of
souls, for a second it even see"ed to "e that I said it "yself...+
)<ou did. <ou said it yesterday. <ou say it every day. (ord for word. 0nd I recall I
also "i"ic!ed you. H0 pale$pin! s!y all shrouded...+ he laughed.
)%ig... 0nd I thought that youre a poet. (hat a disappoint"ent*+ Muffin was
)0gain our Muffy was duped* She -ust wanted to fall in love, and ? poof* ? she was
duped*+ %oo!ar was pleased.
)%hew, how petty* =ow Ill call you Hgloating %oo!ar and nothing else*+ Muffin said
(hile they were tal!ing, the gno"e Scholarch!in wandered to the windowsill and
pondered intensely, )(hat if a poltergeist actually exists/ ,ere wed find it and call it
with "y na"e. @or exa"ple, (olternus Scholarchkinus*+
)(hats Scholarchkinus/ + #lga repeated in a"a;e"ent.
)Its Latin. 0 !ind of extinct language. Esed by scientists,+ Scholarch!in explained
with a contented air.
)(hat are scientists/ 0re they also extinct/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
Suddenly there was a :uiet tap in the closet. )%ing* %ing* %ing*+
)0 poltergeist* Its there, inside*+ #lga gasped.
)Ma"a* (ere scared*+ the bunnies tre"bled.
)7ont be scared* <oure under "y reliable protection* Lets go hide together
so"ewhere,+ Muffin cal"ed the".
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Scholarch!in and @la"y turned on the lights to loo! for the poltergeist. %oo!ar,
overco"ing his own fear, stuc! with the". Scholarch!in brought with hi" a noteboo!, a
ruler, and a ca"era, in order to "easure, weigh, and photograph it.
)Ting, Ting, Ting*+ reached the" fro" the closet. )Ting$ping* Ting$ping*+
%oo!ar, Scholarch!in, and @la"y opened the closet door and cautiously peered
),elp* I" here* ,elp***+ reached the" loudly fro" the very depths of the closet.
0gain, )Ting$ting$ping*+
)Its enticing us* (e go in, and it ? F#T2,0*+ %oo!ar whispered.
)%erhaps the poltergeist really needs help/ Its probably alone and scared in the
closet. I was scared too in the closet until you ca"e*+ @la"y suggested.
Scholarch!in put the ruler in front of hi" li!e a sword, and the brave investigators
went stealthily on tiptoe to the closet.
),elp* ,elp***+ ca"e fro" it.
)=$now well h$help* =$now* ,$hang on, poltergeist*+ Scholarch!in said, stuttering.
0n e"pty -a" -ar was lying on its side in the "iddle of the closet. The -ar was
roc!ing, tapping. %leas for help were also issuing fro" it.
)The poltergeist is there, in the -ar* Lets ta!e a loo! there*+ @la"y proposed.
)Mind I" last*+ %oo!ar said.
Scholarch!in cautiously stole up to the -ar and i""ediately -u"ped bac!.
)(ell, what did you see/ 0 poltergeist/+
)I dont !now. I didnt "anage to see clearly,+ Scholarch!in ac!nowledged.
),ey, in the -ar, respond* Itll be worse*+ @la"y shouted.
),elp* Let "e out of here*+ s:uea!ed fro" the -ar.
)(hat are you/ 0 poltergeist/+
)I" a "ouse... Let "e...+
The investigators loo!ed into the -ar and saw a little grey "ouse. The "ouse was
very nice and polite.
)%hew*+ %oo!ar sighed in relief. )Food that it isnt a poltergeist* Its "uch easier
so"ehow... ,ow did you wind up there, little "ouse/+
)I cli"bed through the hole in the lid and began eating -a",+ the "ouse loo!ed at
%oo!ar with eyes li!e beads. )I ate -a" for three days, and when I ate it all, I found that I
had grown and couldnt fit through the hole in the lid. %lease help "e, I beg you*+
)(ell help now* 2li"b out, little "ouse*+ Scholarch!in opened the lid.
)Than! you very "uch* <ou helped "e a lot. If you want...+ the "ouse flic!ed its tail
e"barrassingly. )If you want, you can give "e a na"e, I still havent got one.+
The gno"e Scholarch!in blushed, hesitated a little for decency, and said, )I na"e
you %olternus Scholarch!inus. Ive long wanted to na"e so"eone that but so"ehow the
chance didnt turn up.+
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The "ouse bowed. )Than! you very "uch* =ow Ill be %olternus Scholarch!inus.
=one of us has such a wonderful na"e* =ow I "ust go ho"e* Than!s again*+ The
"ouse ran away, repeating his beautiful new na"e.
)Foodbye, %oltern* 2o"e visit us*+ @la"y and %oo!ar shouted after hi".
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!ha"ter Eighteen
,##2(R THE 2%&+HT
Masha wo!e up at night because so"eone was running a feather fro" a pillow along
her face. The girl opened her eyes and saw %oo!ar by the light of the nightlight.
)(a!e up, I want your advice*+ %oo!ar shoo! her.
Masha unwillingly half$rose on one elbow. It is not very nice when they wa!e you up
in the night. ,owever, %oo!ar was behaving "ysteriously and Masha beca"e curious.
Aven in the di" light, it was evident that %oo!ar was preoccupied with so"ething.
%oo!ar was shifting fro" foot to foot and tugging at the buttons of his -ac!et.
)Masha, youre :uite experienced in such things. In fact, youre al"ost eight years
old. (hat do people do if they li!e so"eone/ Li!e a lot,+ %oo!ar finally blurted out.
)<ou see, %oo!ar...+ Masha halted.
She was flattered that she was being as!ed for advice li!e an adult and did not want
to let down %oo!ars expectations. #n the other hand, although Masha was, I repeat,
nearly eight years old, there was also not so "uch advice she could give.
)(ell, %oo!ar... (hat can I tell you/ &e really nice to the girl you li!e,+ Masha
)(hat do you "ean Hreally nice/ Shes not in-ured for "e to be really nice to her*+
%oo!ar did not understand.
Masha began to thin!, pondering how best to explain this.
)(ell i"agine... for exa"ple, a boy in class li!es "e. ,e never told "e but I"
al"ost sure. ,e was constantly tugging at "y hair and once secretly placed an
earthwor" in a "atchbox. <ou need to do so"ething of the !ind to reveal your feelings.+
%oo!ar bea"ed and happily rolled off the pillow. )To be really nice turns out to be
:uite interesting* #f course* Than! you, Masha* Ill definitely do everything you
)(ait, %oo!ar* <ou never told "e who you li!e.+
,owever, %oo!ar had already fled. Masha was even upset. )(ell, dont* Must thin! I
dont !now*+ she said.
The next day the doll #lga and the cat Muffin were watching TI. 0 cheerless old
"an appeared on TI and tal!ed about the price of oil.
)>ust loo!* (hat an a"using political uncle* Its i""ediately apparent that hes
terribly clever. Loo!, #lga, what a huge forehead he has*+ Muffin exclai"ed.
)Its not his forehead but his bald head* (hen will you finally learn to distinguish*+
said #lga.
@alsely whistling, %oo!ar approached the girls. ,is red hair was for so"e reason,
washed and co"ically standing stiffly. ,is pants, forever falling down, were tied with a
cord and his ears were washed fairly cleanly for the first ti"e since birth.
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),i, 2at"uffy* ,i, #lga* I -ust happened to be passing by here,+ said %oo!ar, having
stopped whistling.
),i*+ the girls said, not loo!ing away fro" the TI and not paying hi" any special
%oo!ar got between the TI and the ar"chair. )(hat a good day it is today*+ he said,
full of suffering, and loo!ed out the window. 'ain was beating down on the street. 0 wet
crow sat on a branch in front of the windows and swore with bad words.
)2ouldnt be better* %oo!ar* 7ont bloc! the TI* Shoo*+ Muffin "ade a "ove"ent
with her paw sending hi" on his way. %oo!ar reluctantly "oved away fro" the screen
and continued to whistle annoyingly.
)(ont you as! "e what I" whistling/ (ell, dont. Ill still tell you. Its the Song of
the ,ungry Midgets.
Five us a spoon,
(ell eat the "ouser*
Five us a bud
(ell put it in the grinder*+
)(hat bud/+ Muffin loo!ed away fro" the TI.
%oo!ar stuc! his tongue out at her. )=one of your cat business what bud*+
Muffin leaped fro" the ar"chair, attached her teeth to %oo!ars pants, and dragged
hi" out of the roo". %oo!ar dangled in the air and groaned, )(ait before you send "e
pac!ing, naughty Muffy* I still havent done what I wanted*+
%oo!ar deftly -u"ped out of his pants, leaving the" in the cats teeth, and hit the
floor. ,e turned out to have red shorts with white pol!a dots under his pants. Muffin
opened her "outh with astonish"ent and released the pants. %oo!ar grabbed the" and
put the" on. Then he ran to the doll #lga, tugged at her hair, and dropped a "atchbox
on her !nees. )0 gift for you* =ow, Muffy, you can chase "e out* The Moor has done his
wor!* Ti"e for the Moor to be on the train*+
%oo!ar caught hold of the cats tail. Muffin
"ade her way to the door and %oo!ar slid behind as if on water s!is.
#lga shrugged and opened the "atchbox a little. 0 big blac! coc!roach crawled out
of it. #lga screa"ed and threw the box away.
)(hat else is there/+ Muffin returned to the roo". She had sha!en %oo!ar off in the
#lga, in terror, showed Muffin the coc!roach. )%oo!ar gave this to "e*** Eh, nasty*+
There was a !noc! on the door and %oo!ar loo!ed into the roo". @or the "inute he
was not there, %oo!ar "anaged to put on a tie and clean his right shoe with a
The original line )The +oor has done his work, the +oor may go.+ is fro" the play Fiesco,s Cons*iracy
at #enoa J1851K by Fer"an writer @riedrich Schiller J185D$1565K.
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toothbrush. %oo!ar un!indly glanced sideways at Muffin and "uttered, )<ou here,
ani"al/ 7oesnt "atter, you can stay. (atch TI and !eep :uiet*+
The hair on the bac! of Muffins nec! bristled up but she restrained herself. The doll
#lga indignantly went after %oo!ar. )(hy did you give "e a coc!roach/+
)(hat you need, I gave*+ %oo!ar hid the unclean shoe behind the clean one. ),ow
do I loo!/ 'eally, a" I nice/+
)(ell, if not to be very pic!y...+ the polite #lga ac!nowledged.
)(hy did you never "ention it to "e before/ (hat, you dont li!e "e/+ %oo!ar was
)Li!e you/ 7id I hear right/+ #lga was surprised, cleaning her ears with her fingers.
%oo!ar threatened her with a finger in distrust. )I al"ost have to beat the truth out
of you with a ha""er* I didnt co"e here to fight. 2o"e visit "e.+
#lga was extre"ely surprised. %oo!ar was not a big fan of inviting people to visit.
,e li!ed to go visiting "ore. So"ething inconceivable had definitely happened to
%oo!ar today.
)Iisit you/ (hy/+ #lga as!ed.
)(hy/ Tidy up, wash, have tea, chat, and the rest...+ %oo!ar answered evasively.
#lga thought for a bit, hesitated a little, and agreed. She wanted to !now what had
caused the change in %oo!ar. %oo!ar and #lga went to the boot and loo!ed around. In
the "iddle of the boot towered a huge pile of things, on the top of which a butterfly net
stuc! out li!e a flag.
)(ell consider tea. True, I have neither sugar nor teapot, but then theres a table.
Itll be fair. "y table, your tea.+ %oo!ar began to bustle about and dig into things.
#lga was standing in the "iddle of the house$boot, trying not to touch anything so
as not to get dirty.
)Ma!e yourself co"fortable*+ %oo!ar dragged a s"all stool out fro" so"ewhere,
blew dust off the seat, and pushed it up to #lga. In order not to offend %oo!ar, she
carefully sat down on the stool and suddenly crashed onto the floor.
),a$ha*+ %oo!ar laughed.
#lga angrily -u"ped up. )7id you do that on purpose/+ she yelled.
)#h, no$no* I -ust forgot that the stool has no legs* Thats o!ay, Ill give you
another,+ %oo!ar was e"barrassed.
)I better stand. (hy did you invite "e/+ #lga said.
%oo!ar loo!ed down self$consciously but :uic!ly recovered. )I wanted to tal! to
)(hat about/+
%oo!ar scratched his head and blushed. ,e opened his "outh several ti"es to say
so"ething but uttered nothing.
)Tal! about what/+ the curious #lga badgered hi".
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)Its this... 0h... 0bout the pot,+ %oo!ar said, finding the words. )'e"e"ber you
borrowed "y pot and havent returned it/ Thats not good. =ot neighbourly. Ts!$ts!*+
#lga frowned. )(hat are you tal!ing about/ I didnt borrow your pot,+ she drawled
)(ell, not the pot, then so"ething else... 'e"e"ber last year, you needed a nail and
I gave one to you/ (heres "y nail/+
#lgas eyes bulged out. She was speechless for a while.
)0nd you also too! "y lace,+ a wor!ed$up %oo!ar "uttered, )and but... but...
button. The white button with two holes.+
)#h, you bad %oo!ar* I wont play with you* Miserable vulture* >ust as I thought*+
#lga yelled.
She waved her hands and ran out of the house. %oo!ar was about to rush after her
shouting, )<ou yourself are a vulture* 'eturn the nail, the nail*+ ,owever, he stu"bled
over the stool lying around and fell. ,e got up, shoo! hi"self, sighed, thought about
what he would do, and lay down to sleep. The next "orning he wo!e up in a good "ood
and went to the pantry to chec! out the -ars of -a".
)(ell, how are you/ 7eclared your love/+ Masha was curious in the evening.
She went up to %oo!ar and ruffled his hair. &ut %oo!ar was in no "ood for
fran!ness. ,e groaned and went out so"ewhere every five "inutes ? he was stuffed
with -a" and had a sto"achache.
)I" tired of being nice* #lga isnt worthy of "e* #h, "a"a* 0gain* Axcuse "e,
Masha, I have to run, I have wor! to do*+ %oo!ar only said.

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!ha"ter %ineteen
F.(-) (%D THE ,S)!H&!
Ma"a apparently "anaged to wear %apa down after all, because the doorbell rang a
few days later. The psychic had co"e.
Ma"a fussed over the psychic li!e a "other hen over her first egg. She offered hi"
the best slippers and invited hi" into the !itchen for a snac!. %apa was a bit gloo"y and
s"iled insincerely. Masha, as always, was sent to Frand"a so she would not be
The psychic was a tall and very stout "an with a blac!, rather curly beard and fat
chee!s. ,is expression was "eaningful and sly. ,e was constantly doing so"ething with
his hands, as if he was tying up invisible strings in the air.
)I dont drin! at wor!. Enless for inspiration...+ the psychic said to hi"self and
)0nd inspiration doesnt get in the way of wor! with the other world/+ %apa as!ed
)#n the contrary,+ the psychic said very decisively. )#n the contrary*+
%apa and the psychic gurgled so"ething in the !itchen. Ma"a felt nervous and
began to tal! about the "ysterious pheno"ena that were happening in the apart"ent.
)Things "ove by the"selves... @ood disappears fro" the fridge... (eird voices are
heard... My girlfriend Lydia had the sa"e. She told "e about you. (hat would we do
without you/+
)The "oney would be put away for a vacation...+ %apa :uietly "uttered under his
)I re"e"ber, I re"e"ber,+ the psychic frowned. )0t your friend... what did you
say... Oinas/ It was a difficult case. I needed all "y gifts to expel the supernatural forces
fro" her apart"ent... (hat do you have that s"ells so wonderful/ 2hic!en/+
)Tur!ey* (ill you try it/+ Ma"a bea"ed. She loved creative people who had a
connection with the other world.
%apa "ade a :uic! atte"pt to screen the pan, and for a "o"ent, he and Ma"a
silently pulled it away fro" each other. @inally, %apa let got, defeated.
)Specially "ade. My casserole. <ou should li!e it,+ Ma"a said.
)(hy not, why not...+ the psychic said predatorily and lic!ed his lips in anticipation.
)0lthough, of course, I dont eat at wor!... but on the other hand. I indeed i""ediately
reali;ed that this is tur!ey... Seventh sense...+
)Avery fool guesses it when the s"ell fills the whole entrance,+ %apa growled even
The psychic stuc! a for! into a tur!ey leg. %apa set his -aw and his face loo!ed li!e
the for! was stuc! in hi".
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)%erhaps well get to business/ In the sense of "agic or what you do there.
H0bracadabra$hocus$pocus/+ %apa as!ed.
The psychics hand fro;e halfway to his "outh. ,is beard bristled. ,is "oustache
bristled. The psychic slowly rose to his full considerable height and... suddenly said in a
very thin resentful voice, )I refuse to wor! in such an environ"ent. If "y s!ill isnt
trusted, I" ready to leave. My feet wont be here any"ore.+
Ma"a leaped up. )7ont listen to hi"* Its the evil spirits twisting hi". &anish the"
as :uic!ly as possible so that I can regain "y for"er husband,+ she said, attac!ing %apa.
The psychic resisted at first, but then !indly agreed to cast the evil spirits out of
%apa. Ender Ma"as severe loo!s, %apa sat down on a chair, and the psychic started to
do rotational "ove"ents with his hands over %apas head.
)(ell, thats all/ @inished/+ %apa as!ed after five "inutes.
),ow do you feel/ %urified/+ Ma"a as!ed.
)I" sha!ing. Ive never been so irritated,+ %apa said.
Ma"a loo!ed :uestioningly at the psychic. ,e shrugged and said, )Sha!ing, its a
good sign. The evil spirits are unco"fortable. Theyre panic!ing. Must continue*+
,e continued to "a!e his passes over %apa. Ten "inutes. Suddenly %apa turned red
and then laughed. ,e could not cal" down for a long ti"e. Ma"a poured water on
%apa, but he laughed and laughed. In the end he even began to hiccup. )#h, I cant*
,ic... ,a$ha$ha, hic, ha$ha$ha*+
@inally, %apa cal"ed down. ,e sat silently in the chair and gurgled with ten glasses
of water, which Ma"a poured for hi" to stop the hiccups.
)#f course, the session "ust be repeated but the first successes are evident*+ the
psychic said.
#n learning about the arrival of the psychic, the toys were alar"ed and sent the cat
Muffin to find out what it was all about. Muffin twirled underfoot and returned with
shoc!ing news. )Theyre both standing around the psychic and watching as he finishes
off the tur!ey. 7idnt even feed their favourite cat. ,e has probably bewitched the"*+
)(hat if this character exposes us/ Then theyll retain us*+ the bunnies said
Muffins tail twitched in annoyance. ),ow would he !now/ ,es co"pletely
unfeeling. @or ten "inutes I begged hi" for a piece of tur!ey, but he didnt even let "e
s"ell the bones. Iulture*+
)(ell wor! hard so that this ti"e hell have to earn his bread honestly. Let hi"
thin! that were in fact ghosts. It can turn out to be a fun ga"e,+ %oo!ar rubbed his
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0pparently, the psychic recharged his energy well, because only so"e bones were
left of the tur!ey. 0fter washing his hands, he expressed his desire to clean the
apart"ent of evil spirits.
)(ell, lets get started*+ The psychic pulled out two !nitting needles fro" his poc!et
and :uic!ly started to twirl the" in his hands in front of an ad"iring Ma"a.
)(hat are you doing/ 2atching the Martian radio station/+ %apa as!ed with
)Muiet* I feel supernatural forces here so"ewhere. I feel pulses co"ing fro" the"*+
the psychic hissed, leading with the needles.
,e wal!ed around the apart"ent, "a!ing "ove"ents with the needles as if !nitting
invisible stoc!ings. The psychic stepped onto the newspaper in the hallway and irritably
!ic!ed it to the side.
)The ghost dragged this newspaper in the air. %erhaps it will help you so"ehow/+
Ma"a said.
The psychic :uic!ly loo!ed at Ma"a. Then he touched the newspaper with the
needles and suddenly shuddered as if he had been pric!ed by a needle. )#h, yes* #h,
yes*+ he "uttered, rolling his eyes. )I feel dar! energy. <ou "ust burn the newspaper
)(ait*+ %apa decisively snatched the paper out of the psychics hands. )The ghost
flew with yesterdays newspaper, but this is todays. Its here in blac! and white,
The psychic thought for a "o"ent and said, )&urn it all the sa"e* Its all saturated
with dar! energy. It possibly served as a runway for a space ship.+
)(hat ship/ (here would a space ship co"e fro" in our apart"ent/+ %apa was
)Shh*+ the psychic rolled his eyes. )I cant say* %lease burn it*+
%apa loo!ed as!ance at Ma"a and sighed. )@ine. (hy not/ 0fter all, theres no TI
guide in it,+ he said.
0s soon as the newspaper was burned and the stench "ore or less gone, the psychic
glanced at the cloc! and started to "a!e up his "ind. )(ell... thats all. The "ain burst
of evil energy has scattered, but the session has to be repeated after three "onths.+
,e was about to "ove toward the door but Ma"a caught hi" by the ar", )%lease
stop* <ou still havent been in "y daughters roo". Thats exactly where I find the e"pty
"ustard -ars that disappear fro" the refrigerator.+
)'eally/ <ou "ust brea! these -ars i""ediately* 7o you have a ha""er/+ The
psychic started to fuss.
)(hat are the -ars guilty of/+ %apa as!ed.
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The psychic loo!ed reproachfully at %apa, )<ou dont !now, but you "eddle*
Mustard is the universal fuel for alien space ships. Thats the reason they steal it when
they run out of fuel.+
)=ow its clear. I was wondering why "ustard. <ou explained everything and it
:uic!ly beca"e clear,+ Ma"a said.
The psychic twirled the needles and, opening the door to Mashas roo", declared to
%apa and Ma"a, )I as! you not to co"e in* This can be dangerous. 0liens dont li!e the
uninitiated. %lease dont open the door in the next three "inutes, no "atter what
happens* 'e"e"ber/+
)<es*+ Ma"a said responsibly.
)I hope we have nothing valuable there,+ %apa gru"bled when the door closed
behind the psychic.
Left alone in Mashas roo", the psychic put the
needles in his poc!et, stretched, and yawned. ,e
got heartburn after the "eal, and he regretted that
he had been greedy and had overeaten. ,e sat
down on the chair by the window and loo!ed
around. Toys were everywhere and a fly was hitting
the glass. ,e pulled out an envelope, which Ma"a
had ti"idly shoved to hi" in the hallway, and
rustled the bills. ,e was pleasantly surprised by the
contents of the envelope and began to sing &ostile
-inds .low /ver 0s,
the only song he !new.
Then, on glancing at the door, he loudly and hastily
said, )Avil aliens* Leave this ho"e* I banish you in
the na"e of the Supre"e Mind*+
Ma"a and %apa began to stir contentedly
behind the door. The psychic grinned and hid the
envelope in his poc!et. 0t that "o"ent, so"eone
touched his shoulder. ,e turned around
perplexedly and saw a space alien in a spacesuit,
green and goggle$eyed, exactly li!e those drawn in
childrens co"ics. The antenna on the aliens head
)Freetings, psy...+ the alien said in a weird
lifeless voice. ,is "outh did not open and the sound ca"e fro" the box on his bac!.
)(e have been watching you for a long ti"e and !now everything about you* @or
This is fro" -ars1awianka J1D65K, a %olish and 'ussian revolutionay song. The 'ussian version was
written by F. M. 3r;hi;hanovs!y J1581$1D5DK, Soviet econo"ist, thought to be penned when he was
i"prisoned in 15D8.
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exa"ple, that you were "ean to Muffin for a piece of tur!ey... =ot good, the cos"ic
"ind is displeased* It will change you into space fuel for our ship.+
)Ma"a,+ the psychic whispered in a suddenly raspy voice and ineptly crossed
hi"self. ),oly, holy, holy* <ou dont exist*+
)7o you want to fly with us/ (e have prepared a container for you,+ the alien
)=o,+ the psychic was scared. )I cant. I have a wife and !ids. 0nother wife, "ore
)Then we will ta!e you hostage and exchange you for "ustard*+ The alien started to
"ove slowly toward the terrified psychic.
The bearded "an bac!ed towards the door, but accidentally stepped on the cats
)Me$ow*+ Muffin howled in panic and scratched the psychics leg.
&eside hi"self with horror, the bearded "an bu"ped into the door with such force
that it al"ost opened in the opposite direction.
),ow he fights, not sparing hi"self*+ Ma"a was delighted. )#bvious right away, a
professional. 0nd you didnt believe "e* 7ont open the door* It hasnt been three
"inutes yet*+
)I hope he wont nail the cat. &ut then, Muffy will stand up for herself. She can even
do it very well,+ %apa said, leaning his shoulder against the door.
(hile the psychic and %apa were pulling at the door handle, the space alien whined
softly in the psychics ear. )#oh$ooh* 'eturn the "oney you swindled, or else I will ta!e
you to the "oon.+
)=$no, I wont*+ the psychic "uttered, fighting with the door. )I have !ids*+
)(e will ta!e the !iddies to the "oon*+
),elp* I wont cheat any"ore* (ho wouldve thought that aliens really exist*+
The alien soared near the ceiling and began to circle the psychics head. )Ax$xi$ist*
Aven ex$xi$ist* To the "oo$oon* #oh*+ he howled enthusiastically.
#n seeing that the alien could even fly, the psychic finally got scared. )Ill return the
"oney* 0nd throw out the !nitting needles*+ he tre"bled. )I dont want the "oon* The
wife, the children are hungry* The cottage in @rance is unfinished*+
Silence. =ot a word, not a sound. The psychic loo!ed around fearfully. The alien had
disappeared. 0 second ago, he was silently soaring near the ceiling, but now he had
disappeared, dissolved, as if he had not been there. The psychic grabbed his head and
beca"e si"ilar to %iro;h!ov after the "eeting with the pin! elephant.
Surprised that the roo" had beco"e very :uiet, %apa opened the door. The freed
psychic pushed %apa and Ma"a away and rushed at top speed to the elevator. ,e was
dishevelled and did not loo! :uite sane. ,e "ade strange "ove"ents with his hands, as
if chasing away invisible flies.
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)'an off and didnt say good$bye* See"s the ghost drove hi" out. (orthy
opponents*+ Ma"a shoo! her head.
'ight at the heels of the psychic, an envelope with "oney appeared at the door and,
swirling, fell right into %apas hands.
)In "y opinion, the ghost is friendly to us. I even li!e it. @or its part, it was nice to
return us the "oney,+ %apa said.
Ma"a sighed. )I dont !now. #h, I dont !now... Fo to the store to buy "ustard/ (e
"ust bring the ghost around so"ehow if we cant get rid of it/+
),iss$hiss* ,urrah*+ was heard in the roo".
0t the sa"e second Ma"as feet too! off fro" the floor and she flew up to the
ceiling. Ma"a !ept her s!irt down with one hand and ad-usted her hair with the other.
#n the whole, she loo!ed :uite happy.
Later Ma"a was gently lowered to the floor. She thoughtfully touched her chee!
with her hand.
)It see"s it !issed "e*+ she said, blushing.
)I hope it was a platonic !iss* Its in the interests of the ghost*+ %apa said.
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter T*enty
S$%D() E%TERT(&%-E%T
#n Sunday, Masha suddenly had a sore throat and her parents would not let her go
out. )Stay ho"e for the day, get better, and you can go to school to"orrow.+
)They co"forted "e, needless to say. (ould be better if I go out today and get sic!
on Monday,+ Masha thought.
,owever, her parents, as usual, had a ready answer for everything. The girl cli"bed
in bed with a boo! and tried to read. <et it did not wor! out for herB it was a "agnificent
"id$May day in the courtyard and she could hear the voices of children playing. Masha
scowled and tossed the boo! aside. >ust thin!, a sore throat* 0 tiny bit* (hy did she tell
)(ere going for a wal!* &ac! in a couple of hours* 7ont feel bad*+ her parents
shouted fro" the hallway.
0s soon as had Ma"a and %apa closed the door, Masha -u"ped out of bed and ran
to the window. Indeed* 0ll her friends were in the yard* 'eally bad luc!*
)'elax* <ou dont need to hang out all day on the street in order to have a good
Sunday. 0dventure can be found at ho"e, on the spot*+ a provocative voice said next to
the girl.
Masha saw %oo!ar. ,e was sitting on the windowsill and tearing the leaves off the
geraniu", saying, )Li!es, disli!es, spits, !isses*+
(hen only the last leaf re"ained on the geraniu", %oo!ar suddenly pushed the pot
aside. )Tell fortune another ti"e* =o ti"e to sit* @orward, in search of adventure*+
)2ant. I have to get better,+ Masha sighed.
)(hats hurting/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
)My throat.+
)Ill cure you instantly*+
),ow/ 2an you really/+ Masha as!ed doubtfully.
)#pen your "outh and say H0h$hhhh* I see* =ow chec! the te"perature*+ %oo!ar
cli"bed onto the windowsill, and before Masha had ti"e to as! what he intended on
doing, he poured water fro" the watering can onto her forehead and face.
)0h$h* <oure nuts*+
)@iddle faddle* The waters not boiling, that "eans you dont have a te"perature.
My throat hurt a thousand ti"es and I was never in bed.+
),ow do I get better then/ Ma"a said...+
)<ou also "ust listen to Ma"a within reason,+ %oo!ar snarled. )She doesnt !now
that you get over a sore throat "uch faster when you run around and screa"* In the
extre"e case, you can stic! a "ustard plaster on your tongue* Its the best way*+
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
The closet opened slightly and @la"y the dragonet po!ed his head out, )(ho was
tal!ing about a "ustard plaster/ I want a "ustard plaster*+
)(hy do you need it/ <ou arent sic!.+
)&ut I a". I have an upset sto"ach. I eat a "ustard plaster and the sto"ach$ache
will pass,+ @la"y said, lic!ing his lips.
)I would have given you a "ustard plaster, but I dont !now where Ma"a puts
the",+ Masha confessed.
)<ou !now everything. If youre being "ean, then say so*+ @la"y was offended and
crawled into the closet.
Masha went to the closet and !noc!ed. )@la"y, I have no "ustard plaster, but I
have a -ar, and guess whats in it/ %epper*+
So"ething in the closet "oved and a bea"ing @la"y e"erged and said, )<oure
probably "a!ing it up. @or not treating "e earlier... (ell, lets have the -ar*+
(hile Masha fed @la"y pepper, %oo!ar concentrated on "a!ing so"ething out of
)=ow well have so"e good fun* &een a long ti"e since such excellent bo"bs
wor!ed out for "e* Three* 0ll that re"ains is to fill the" with water. Ep* 'eady*+
%oo!ar stood on tiptoe and loo!ed out the window. )0ha* Theres the guy fro" the
second entrance washing his car again* I" still waiting for hi" to wear a hole through
it* (hats this/ ,e see"s to have run out of water/ 7ont loose heart, uncle, now Ill
co"e to your rescue*+
%oo!ar ai"ed and threw down three little bo"bs. The first exploded right at the feet
of the guy washing his car, the second hit hi" on the head, and the third landed with a
plop on the roof of the car. The car owner loo!ed up and saw one of the air vents close.
,e howled and rushed to the entrance.
),ey, Masha, @la"y* See"s troubles co"ing. Its already pretty close,+ %oo!ar
@la"y let out a shower of spar!s fro" his nose. )I !now what to do.+
The car owner -u"ped out of the elevator and pounded his fists on the door. ,e was
so angry that he did not even use the doorbell. )<oull re"e"ber "e* I wont leave till
you open*+
The door opened as if the "agic word )sesa"e+ had been uttered and, out of the
apart"ent, horns leaning forward, s:uee;ed a hu"ongous bull. It was so huge that the
landing barely acco""odated it. The bull bellowed with ill will and ca"e at the
disconcerted "otorist. Its red eyes were bloodshot and stea" ca"e out of its nostrils.
The car owner bac!ed away. )(hat are you, what are you/ =ice ox* I" already
leaving* 2ant one be at the wrong place/+ he yelled, leaping into the elevator.
The bull ran a hard loo! over hi" and returned to the apart"ent. There he again
beca"e the sa"e cheerful @la"y.
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
)Fone/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
)Fone,+ @la"y assured hi".
)@or good/+
)I thin! so.+
)(ell, fol!s, shouldnt be so*+ %oo!ar was indignant. )0s soon as it co"es to cars,
then they i""ediately lose their ut"ost sense of hu"our* 0nd all for a pile of iron on
%oo!ar began to thin! up new entertain"ent. ,e wandered around the roo" and
loo!ed into all the cupboards and drawers. Suddenly his eye fell on a toy bow and
arrows. ),ooray* Fot it* <ou wont get bored with "e* (ell play 'obin ,ood*+ ,e
grabbed fro" the table a cup with tea still in it and put it on the doll #lgas head.
)0 beautiful girl bravely entrusts a crac! shot with her life*+ %oo!ar ai"ed his bow
at the cup on #lgas head.
)0 trusting fool and a bu"bling shooter. 0 lethal co"bo*+ The cat Muffin closed her
%oo!ar released the arrow. #lga did not wait till %oo!ar "issed to duc!. The cup
flew fro" her head and shattered, and %oo!ars arrow !noc!ed the cap off the gno"e
Scholarch!in, who was strolling along the windowsill, pondering over very clever topics.
)Aure!a* Ive got it*+ Scholarch!in shouted suddenly. The gno"e rushed to write
so"ething in his noteboo!.
)(hat have you done/+ Masha was upset. )<ou bro!e the cup and spilled tea on the
floor. Ma"a will be "ad when she sees it.+
)She wont find out anything*+ %oo!ar instantly tossed the cup frag"ents out the
window, grabbed a piece of cloth fro" a chair, and wiped the floor dry with it.
)(ell, thats it* Luc!y for you a rag -ust turned up,+ %oo!ar said s"ugly.
)Its not a rag, its %apas shirt* ,es going to wor! in it to"orrow* Ma"a was going
to iron it*+ #nly now did Masha see exactly what %oo!ar used to wipe the floor.
)<oure always nitpic!ing* =o "atter what I do, youre never happy. &ut youll learn
to see the good in everything. Let it be less of a shirt but "ore of a rag. <ou only need to
explain this to Ma"a,+ %oo!ar said philosophically.
)(hy dont you explain to her/ ,ere, tell us*+ Masha turned on hi".
)I cant,+ %oo!ar sighed. )Its custo"ary to hear sad news fro" close people. Aasier
for the" to bear it this way. 0nd dont forget that to your "a"a I" a secret, shielded in
Masha decided to wash %apas shirt so that it would not loo! as if it was used to
wipe the floor.
)Thin! about it, the floor* (e wal! on it... &ut Ill wash the shirt,+ %oo!ar declared.
%oo!ar grabbed the shirt and dragged it along the floor to the bathroo". #n the
way, the shirt caught on a nail and its sleeve was ripped. %oo!ar threw up his hands
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
contentedly. )<our luc!y papa* Aarlier he had a si"ple drab shirt but it has beco"e a
fashionable vest* 0ll that re"ains is to change its colour a bit and a beautiful su""er
shirt is ready* (here are the watercolours/+
=obody gave hi" any watercolours. The doll #lga hastily too! the shirt fro" %oo!ar
and began sewing. Masha washed the shirt in soapsuds and rinsed it. Frabbing the
hanger with the shirt in his teeth, @la"y started flying swiftly around the roo" so that
the shirt soon dried.
It all too! so"e ten "inutes. (hen Ma"a and %apa ca"e bac! fro" their wal!, the
shirt was co"pletely ready and it was i"possible to deter"ine that it had been in a fix.
)If your papa only !new what he had "issed* ,e would rip out all of his shirtsleeves
and paint the shirts with watercolours in the "ost fantastic colours. &ut I bet he
wouldnt have hit upon the idea hi"self*+ %oo!ar declared.

©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter T*enty3#ne
-(-( F&%DS F.(-)
Several days had passed since the young dragon whistled for his "other. =othing
happened and @la"y slowly began to lose hope. )She probably didnt hear "e,+ he
,owever, one day when %apa was reading the paper, he suddenly laughed and
called Ma"a.
)They write such nonsense* H0 flying dinosaur has appeared and circles above
Moscow at night*+
)If I were you, I would ta!e this "ore seriously. 7ont forget that we ourselves have
a ghost at ho"e,+ Ma"a said.
)0 ghost is one thing, but a dinosaur, totally different,+ %apa said categorically and
buried hi"self in the newspaper. <et he could not read because the roo" had suddenly
beco"e dar! as night.
)(hats the "atter/ 0 stor" co"ing perhaps/+ %apa wondered. ,e loo!ed out the
window and sat down hard on the floor. )There... theres a dinosaur* Its flying here* 0nd
bloc!ing the whole s!y*+ he yelled to Ma"a.
)Things -ust get worse and worse* I hope it isnt co"ing for us and wont stay for
dinner,+ Ma"a re"ar!ed. =othing could surprise her any"ore.
Meanwhile, in his apart"ent %iro;h!ov was arguing sluggishly with 0vdo!hina.
&oth were rather tired and decided to have tea with ca!e.
2ontinuing to gru"ble discontentedly to herself that everyone around was bad and
she alone was good, 0vdo!hina brought the teapot to %iro;h!ovs cup and accidentally
loo!ed out the window. )There...theres a "onster*+ she exclai"ed and fainted right
onto %iro;h!ovs !nees.
%iro;h!ov began to tap 0vdo!hinas chee!s and pour hot tea. ,ot tea had a
beneficial effect. 0vdo!hina ca"e to and saw her neighbour bending over her
sy"pathetically. )I will co"p...+ she said ti"idly and suddenly blushed.
%iro;h!ov also blushed, pulled a han!y fro" his poc!et, and began wiping
0vdo!hinas face.
)Ma"a, thats "y "a"a* I found Ma"a*+ @la"y yelled happily, when he saw the
dragon flying up to the house.
)'ather, she found you,+ Masha corrected hi".
@ive "inutes later %oo!ar, the cat Muffin, the doll #lga, the gno"e Scholarch!in,
and the bunnies Sineus and Truvor all sat on the windowsill and watched as @la"y and
his "other flew in a "ad dance outside the window. They first soared up high in the s!y,
then circled near each other, "oved away, then drew together. It was the "ost
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
"ysterious and the "ost beautiful dance in the world at the sa"e ti"e. 0 dance of
reunion after a long separation.
)(ere leaving* Ti"e for us to go* #r else theyll su""on the air force*+ Ma"a
7ragon called @la"y. ,er voice was deep li!e a tru"pet.
)Ma"a, I" co"ing* (ait a "inute*+ @la"y shouted. ,e flew to his friends. ,e was
excited and breathing in :uic! succession, his for!ed tongue stic!ing out. )Ill visit you*+
)'eally/ <ou arent tric!ing us/+ the doll #lga as!ed, cho!ing bac! tears.
)'eally truly*+ @la"y patted #lga on the head.
%oo!ar was going to open his "outh to say so"ething, but :uic!ly turned away. ,e
did not want anyone to see that he was also affected a great deal.
The bunnies Sineus and Truvor clung to @la"y with their tiny paws and did not
want to let hi" go. #nly his pro"ise of bringing the" "ore carrots on his next visit
consoled the" so"ewhat.
The cat Muffin was not noted for great senti"entality, but she !issed @la"y
goodbye and gave hi" a beautiful ribbon, which he too! in his teeth.
)Foodbye* 7ont forget to treat your "a"a*+ Masha ran her hand along @la"ys
shiny scales and slipped hi" a -ar of "ustard for the road.
)Foodbye* Ill "iss you very "uch*+ @la"y shouted. ,e dashed off after Ma"a,
loo!ing bac! fre:uently and waving goodbye with his tail. Two points, one large and the
other :uite tiny, were still visible for a long ti"e fro" the window. Then they slowly
disappeared in the distance.
%oo!ar, !eeping up a brave face all this ti"e, bro!e down and wept. )I" absolutely
"iserable* Ive been left all alone* %oor "e, abandoned* =obody loves "e, only I alone
love "e* In spite of everything, Ill sit here* I wont "ove fro" the spot in a year, two,
three, until @la"y co"es,+ %oo!ar sobbed.
The doll #lga, loo!ing at %oo!ar, began to blot her eyes with her lace apron. The
bunnies were sobbing :uietly in ti"e with her. The cat Muffin also shed a few tears for
proper for", but the gno"e Scholarch!in burst into tears so that he thoroughly wet his
noteboo!. It beca"e so wet in the roo" that even frogs would grow.
Masha hugged her downcast friends. )Little fools* <oure not :uite alone. <ou have
"e, I have you, and so it will always be*+ she said.
)2ross "y heart*+ Masha confir"ed. )=ow run off to dinner*+
)I bet Ill be first*+ %oo!ar yelled.
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter #ne
THE RET$R% #F F.(-)
=early a "onth had passed since @la"y flew away. Iacation had started. 0l"ost all
of Mashas friends had left for cottages and resorts, and she was very bored. The weather
was bad. It was cold. 'ain had been pouring for days. #ne cannot have "uch fun in this
#ne evening Masha cli"bed onto Ma"as !nees and buried her head in Ma"as
shoulder. )Ma"a, when are we going on vacation/ Soon/ Tell "e, soon/+
Ma"a hugged Masha. )The beginning of 0ugust. %apa and I dont get vacations
sooner. ,ave patience.+
)&ut its so long till 0ugust* 0l"ost two "onths, Ma"a*+ Masha was suffering.
She "ade an effort to refrain fro" tears. Spending the su""er in the city is really
the li"it. Iacations in the yard and then sit around all day and watch TI. &elow average
pleasure. Indeed, reading a boo! would distract her so"ewhat, and even then not
Aven %oo!ar could not cheer up Masha. %oo!ar hi"self was also languishing. =o
new diversion was devised. The apart"ent had long been investigated. The -a" had
been eaten. ,orsing around without the young dragon turned out to be not so
#nce, Masha, #lga, and %oo!ar were leafing through a picture boo!, yawning and
watching Muffin hunt la;ily. The cat was "a!ing sluggish "ove"ents with a paw
towards flies flying around the roo"B however, it was obvious that she was bored and
the flies were not "a!ing her happy. Muffin had grown tired of the "onotony and the
dullness of city life. She wanted to go so"ewhere in the forest or to the cottage.
)I -ust have no idea how to !ill ti"e* @ight/ 0ll the "ore fun*+ %oo!ar nudged the
doll #lga with an elbow, trying to stir her up. #lga only glanced sleepily at hi" and
buried herself in the boo!. &eyond the window, it was raining already not for the first
day, and the feeling of da"pness was strong even in the apart"ent.
)%iro;h!ov says that rain is food for crops. &ut to "e, theres nothing drearier than
rain,+ Masha sighed.
%iro;h!ov had changed greatly after the "eeting with @la"yB he had beco"e
thoughtful and good friends with 0vdo!hina. 0vdo!hina fed her neighbour "il! fro"
her store and fattened hi" with butter. %iro;h!ov gained five !ilogra"s fro" the
nourishing diet and spo!e of 0vdo!hina only with respect. ,e now spent whole days on
duty on the balcony with opera glasses waiting for the arrival of a E@# or, in the worst
case, a herd of pin! elephants.
,e no longer railed against Masha for so"eti"es "a!ing a noise and did not tap on
the heater. So"eti"es %iro;h!ov invited her to visit and showed her old photos. #ne of
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
the shots struc! Masha the "ost. In it was a boy of about five years old in shorts and
with a bunch of balloons. %iro;h!ov found hi"self all over again in the boy. Masha could
not i"agine that her gruff neighbour was once a child, loved ice crea", and bro!e
wheels off toy truc!s.
0fter Masha, %oo!ar, and #lga finished tal!ing about the weather, the conversation,
as usual, returned to @la"y. 'ecently the friends often re"inisced about hi".
),ows @la"y there/ I wonder what hes doing now.+ #lga said drea"ily.
%oo!ar started to fidget on Mashas !nees, where he usually sat. )If only @la"y
would co"e* Then wed have fun* 'e"e"ber how he beca"e the school principal/+
)0nd when he scared the psychic/ It was so funny* The bunnies even had to change
their pants*+ #lga recalled.
Suddenly the window swung open. 0 "ischievous wind burst into the roo",
!noc!ed over a flowerpot, tousled Mashas hair, turned #lgas dresses around on the
clothesline, and again swept bac! into the courtyard.
Masha straightened the flowerpot, got up on a chair to close the window, and...
could not believe her eyes.
)Loo!, a letter* #n the windowsill* 7id the wind really bring it/+ she exclai"ed.
The letter loo!ed "ysterious, without a sta"p, no address, and unusually large. It
was also written not on paper but on pin! soft bar! rolled into a scroll.
%oo!ar snatched the bar! fro" Mashas hands. )Five it here* Ill read it "yself*+ ,e
began to "ove his lips. )%$r$g$n... (hats this letter/ I so"ehow forget*+
Masha too! the letter fro" hi" and turned it in the other direction.
)So thats why I couldnt read it* I was holding it upside down. 0nnoyances always
trap those of us who can read and write*+ %oo!ar guessed.
(hile Masha was reading, %oo!ar and #lga tried to guess the content of the letter
fro" her expression. They tried so hard to loo! into her face that so"eti"es they even
bu"ped into her with their foreheads and interfered with Masha reading. @inally,
Masha loo!ed up and said happily, )Its fro" @la"y* ,es inviting us to visit @airyland*
To"orrow hell co"e with his "a"a to ta!e us there.+
)2ool* (ere going to @airyland*+ %oo!ar delightedly pulled #lgas braid. Masha and
%oo!ar started to run around the roo", sto"ping and shouting, )@airyland* @airyland*+
The doll #lga also wanted to travel, but she did not li!e decisions not well thought
out. @irst, she thoroughly weighed all the )pros+ and )cons.+ )#n one hand, its very nice
of @la"y to invite us. &ut its so unexpected. (e arent ready for a trip yet. (ill Mashas
parents let us go to @airyland/ Aven if they do, we wont "anage to be ready in one day.
(e also dont have a suitable suitcase.+
,owever, #lgas prudence did not da"pen Mashas and %oo!ars spirit. In their
i"agination, they were already flying to @airyland. #nly the thought of Ma"a and %apa
brought Masha so"e uneasiness. She was not sure that her parents would allow her to
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
travel alone. Masha !nitted her brow, thought for a "o"ent, but then shoo! her head.
)@la"y writes that he would ta!e care of Ma"a and %apa hi"self. I hope he !nows what
hes tal!ing about. Its not so easy to fool Ma"a.+
Muffin started to "eow excitedly. She also wanted to go to @airyland because she
had lost hope in Moscow strays. (hile in @airyland, who !nows/ =ot only dragons live
there. %oo!ar ran to Muffin and -u"ped onto her bac!. ),ey, cat* 0re you going to the
dragons/ Isnt it strange that they invited you too/ 7ont they have their own Muffys/+
The friends sat down on the sofa and loo!ed at each other. Averyone experienced
such a strong desire to set out on the trip that even the doll #lga was infected by the
general i"patience. )#!ay, to @airyland then* (e -ust need ti"e to pac!.+
The bunnies and the gno"e Scholarch!in, having heard about @la"ys invitation,
were very happy. The gno"e i""ediately put a noteboo!, a ruler, and a s"all abacus
into his briefcase. Scholarch!in even sharpened all his pencils in case he had to write
so"ething down :uic!ly.
%oo!ar rolled the last two -ars of -a" fro" the closet and i""ediately e"ptied one,
saying that the -a" would be "ore co"fortable and safer in his sto"ach than in a cold
glass -ar.
#lga washed all her dresses and -eans, ironed everything, neatly pac!ed the" in a
s"all suitcase, and began to stoc! up provisions for the road. She was in such a rush the
whole day that it was i"possible to get to her.
In the evening on the eve of the trip to @airyland, Masha ca"e to Ma"a and buried
her head in Ma"as sto"ach. )Tell "e, Ma"a, would you be very upset if I went
so"ewhere/+ she as!ed with the "ost innocent voice.
)0nd where are you going/+ Ma"a as!ed a little anxiously.
)I want to travel to @airyland,+ Masha ad"itted honestly.
Ma"a sighed in relief. )'eally, to @airyland* 2ertainly.+
Masha was glad that Ma"a agreed so fast. She ran off to her roo" to pac! and wait
for @la"y.
)%oor girl* ,ow bored she "ust be in the city in the su""er. Too bad we dont have
a cottage,+ %apa la"ented when he and Ma"a were left alone.
)(ho would be with her there/ Indeed, not your "other for sure* If we could spend
"ore ti"e with Masha, the child wouldnt have to invent all sorts of "agical countries,+
Ma"a agreed.
The night before the -ourney passed uneasily. Averyone was already "entally on the
way and nervous about the slightest delay. Since early "orning, the "erry co"pany was
sitting on the suitcases and loo!ing i"patiently out the window. The cat Muffin was
dru""ing her tail on the floor and the bunnies could barely refrain fro" snivelling.
Scholarch!in twirled his briefcase. The doll #lga and Masha hastily finished the final
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
preparations. they watered the flowers, fed the fish, and pac!ed up the provisions for the
road. %oo!ar had asse"bled so "uch baggage for hi"self that he could not "ove it. The
-ar of -a" had to be left behind. %oo!ar !ic!ed it under the bed and covered it with old
newspapers so that it would not be found and eaten until he could.
In the evening, Ma"a and %apa put Masha to bed and wished her good night. )See
you, Ma"a* See you, %apa*+ Masha said "uch "ore senti"entally than always. Esually
she would say peevishly, )(ell* Turn off the light*+
She waited until Ma"a and %apa went to their roo" and lay down, and then she
:uic!ly got dressed, lighting her roo" with a flashlight. @la"y should appear any
"inute. 0l"ost all the windows in the opposite house had already gone dar!. %oo!ar,
#lga, Scholarch!in, and the bunnies got out fro" under the bed, where they had been
hiding, waiting until Mashas parents went to sleep.
)(hen will the dragon co"e/ I" already worn out* Maybe he was detained on the
way/+ %oo!ar was dying of i"patience.
)%atience* #nce @la"y pro"ised, hes sure to co"e.+
Masha was right. 0 :uiet tap on the window rang out, then the curtains flew open,
and the young dragon -u"ped down clu"sily into the roo". ,e had grown a little and
rounded out, but in general re"ained the old darling @la"y.
)Long ti"e no see* I "issed you awfully*+
)(e "issed you too*+
Muffin threw herself at @la"y and lic!ed his ear. She was a very i"pressionable
young pussycat and she loved to !iss. 0fter Muffin, Masha and the doll #lga cli"bed to
hug @la"y.
0 surprised %oo!ar glanced at #lga, annoyed. )She has to go and do this too* =ow
thats sloppy senti"entality.+
%oo!ar li"ited hi"self to patting @la"y patroni;ingly on his scaly side. ),ello, old
fella* (hats up/+ he as!ed.
)(hats with you/ #verheated/+ @la"y was surprised. %oo!ar was e"barrassed and
wal!ed away.
(hen greetings were over with, @la"y as!ed, )7id you get the letter/ 'eady to fly
with us/+
)'eady. (e were waiting for you. &ut you pro"ised to arrange things with "y
parents*+ Masha replied.
@la"y let out a shower of spar!s fro" his nostrils. )7ont worry* They wont even
notice your absence. Ive thought of everything*+ ,e loo!ed out the window and
shouted, ),ey, Misfit, were here*+
0nother young dragon, slightly s"aller than @la"y, flew into the roo" and loo!ed
down bashfully. The second dragonet had huge yellow eyes.
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)This is "y younger sister Misfit,+ @la"y
patronisingly introduced her. )%retty, right/ The
sa"e "ould as I* Shell replace you, Masha, while
youre visiting us. 2o"e on, Misfit, get to wor!*+
The second young dragon started to blin! her
yellow eyes and loo!ed attentively at Masha. 0
"o"ent later, a "ischievous girl with light brown
hair, an exact copy of Masha, appeared in Misfits
spot. ),i* I" Masha* 0nd who are you/+ she said.
The real Masha was bewildered, loo!ing at a
live reflection of herself. 0 stunning rese"blance*
So that was what @la"y was thin!ing* Masha
raised her hand to her hair, and Misfit also
touched her hair. Masha laughed, and Misfit bro!e into a s"ile, showing the two front
bunny teeth.
)<our parents wont be able to tell you apart for anything* =ow ti"e for us to go* Its
a long way to @airyland*+ @la"y hurried the".
The friends said goodbye to Misfit and went out onto the balcony. It turned out that
@la"y had co"e with his "a"a. The huge fe"ale dragon turned out to be !ind and
:uic! to laughter.
%oo!ar i""ediately cli"bed up to introduce hi"self and declared that in his ti"e
he showed fatherly care to her son. )2an say I raised hi"*+ he bragged.
)(hos this tal!ing to "e/ I cant "a!e out at all* 0 parrot/+ Ma"a 7ragon was
surprised, not discerning little %oo!ar.
%oo!ar felt insulted and started to explain that he was not a parrot, and could not
understand how it was possible to ta!e hi" for a parrot.
)Sure its possible* Must ad"it I often confuse you,+ the doll #lga "ade hi" happy.
Masha too! the cat Muffin and cli"bed onto the bac! of Ma"a 7ragon. %oo!ar,
#lga, the gno"e Scholarch!in, and the bunnies sat on @la"y. Misfit waved goodbye
fro" the window. The dragons soared into the Moscow night s!y.
@lying was surprisingly pleasant. 2ity lights, "ulticoloured signs, and chains of
headlights shi""ered below. @la"y and his "a"a flew high above the houses, invisible
fro" the ground. Masha had the thrill and happiness of flight as never before.
The dragons "ade a circle above Moscow and turned east. Soon the city
disappeared below. Its lights blurred in the dar!. The fog obscured the ground.
Masha first turned her head and greedily inhaled the sweet su""er air. ,owever,
in an hour or two, the rhyth"ical vibration of the war" dragon bac! roc!ed her to sleep.
She fell asleep. 0lthough, through her drea" Masha sensed that they were flying. The
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cat Muffin curled up next to Masha. Muffin drea"ed of a big dragon cat presenting her
with a bou:uet of white roses.

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!ha"ter T*o
0 blue butterfly too! off fro" Mashas nose and fluttered its sil!y wings. Masha
opened her eyes and saw that she was lying on a clearing with lots of bright colours. 0
pal" tree spread out its fretted leaves above her head. Sunlight strea"ed through the
foliage li!e vertical, visible strea"s in which "ulticoloured butterflies danced.
Masha did not i""ediately understand how she had turned up in this strange
beautiful place. She had the fleeting thought that she was still sleeping, drea"ing the
glade, and had to lie still so as not to scare away the re"ar!able drea". ,owever, Masha
then re"e"bered the -ourney to @airyland and laughed, )So its all real* ,ow cool*+
She lifted herself up a little on her elbows. She could see neither %oo!ar,
Scholarch!in, #lga, nor the cat Muffin nearby.
)(here have they gone to/+ Masha wanted to call out to the", but right there a
banana peel s"ac!ed her. Masha loo!ed up and saw %oo!ar on the top of the pal" tree.
),ey$ho* Anough sleep* 2o"e up* @ull of all !inds of yu""y here*+ %oo!ar
%oo!ar dropped Masha a bunch of bananas. The bunch was hard. Masha barely
caught it.
Masha was peeling a banana when Muffin approached her with clu"sy -u"ps. 0s
usual, on first ac:uaintance with anything, Muffin was captivated and was at a loss for
words to express her delight. She rolled about on the grass, started to lic! her fur,
chased her own tail, and purred a "erry song. Masha had never seen her cat so happy.
),ere...everythings... so... ah*+ Muffin could only utter. She loo!ed at Masha with
"ad eyes and ran off again so"ewhere.
%oo!ar flung a peel fro" the tree at Muffin, but did not hit her and al"ost fell down
hi"self. ,aving eaten bananas, %oo!ar beca"e heavy and too! a long ti"e to cli"b
slowly down the pal" tree.
)#h$ho$ho* =ot the sa"e now that Ive aged... If I were five years younger...+ %oo!ar
sighed. It is worth noting that five years ago he was not yet around and had not yet been
Masha loo!ed around and caught her breath in delight. @airyland was beautiful. She
had never seen such a blue s!y, such light cu"ulus clouds, and such fresh green foliage.
In the distance, a forest showed blue. 0 cool strea" "ur"ured. 0long the strea" grew
un!nown trees, the branches of which bent under the weight of apples, oranges, and
The doll #lga e"erged fro" the high grass with cha"o"ile behind her ear. Masha
saw precisely for the first ti"e that #lgas eyes were blue and bright. They did not see"
so in the city. The lighting was probably different.
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)Masha, Masha,+ the doll #lga began to recount excitedly, )there on the edge of the
woods is a little house* Its so funny and, i"agine, Masha, with legs li!e a chic!en*+
,ere #lga saw a large orange butterfly and ran after it. Masha began to gather a
bou:uet but soon left this occupation. (hen the flowers were bro!en, they cried and
as!ed her not to hurt the". Masha apologi;ed and put the" on the grass. The flowers
i""ediately rooted to the ground.
7ragon wings began to flap. @la"y flew to Masha and, playing, gently nudged her
shoulder with his head. )I wanted to wa!e you, but Ma"a said that you should have a
good sleep... 7id you/ Lets go for brea!fast* I"agine, Ma"a prepared "ustard ca!es
and coo!ed a barrel of pepper co"pote. &ut I" not allowed to sit down at the table. I
was told to call our guests.+
)Mustard ca!es/ %epper co"pote/+ Masha was not sure that she li!ed this.
The young dragon laughed. )0h, I forgot that you dont li!e spicy things* 7oesnt
"atter... My "a"a wont leave anyone hungry.+
@la"y found the cat Muffin, #lga, and the bunnies in the grass. Sineus and Truvor
were so stupefied by the sun and the greenery that they stood :uietly under a tree,
holding paws, and were even afraid to breathe loudly in case the "iracle vanished.
@la"y brought the friends to a cliff on the edge of the forest. The cliff, overgrown
with "oss, rose up to the s!y. =either a single cave nor at least a crac!.
)<ou live here/+ #lga was surprised.
)(e live here*+ @la"y delighted in his friends a"a;e"ent and pronounced,
)/*en gate
-ith a key2lock,
And a golden kerchie$.+
So"ething started to grind. 0 huge boulder in the cliff turned, revealing "arble
steps. Scholarch!in sighed and grabbed a pencil. ,e had to put what he saw down in his
noteboo! without fail. The cat Muffin carefully and incredulously touched the cliff with a
paw. @la"y was satisfied, )Thats all* =o need for any door with a bell*+
Masha, Scholarch!in, Muffin, the bunnies, and %oo!ar began to go down the "arble
steps after @la"y. 0 wide spiral staircase illu"inated by torches led into the depth of the
"ountain. The torches lit up and went out as if by "agic.
)(ow* Technology on the verge of fantasy*+ %oo!ar approved.
%oo!ars words were pic!ed up and echoed "any ti"es. The steps led out to a
spacious hall. Masha had never seen such a richly decorated hall before. To the right and
This is fro" a fol!loric incantation. The tsar had a wi$e, she o*ened the gate, with a key, a lock, a silk
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left, rows of very tall white colu"ns were lined with "arble. 0 powerful -et hit the
fountain in the centre. S"all sprays scattered in all directions.
0 big owl sat on a perch by the fountain and screwed up her eyes discontentedly.
)This is the owl @i"a* She has already lived with us for two hundred years,+ @la"y
)(ow, what an owl* 2an I stro!e her/+ Masha stretched out her hand and was
terribly surprised when the owl @i"a pulled away and "uttered, )&efore touching
so"eone, girl, wash your hands and as! for per"ission. (here are your "anners/
(ould you li!e it if strange birds flew up to you and started to pec! you/+
)=o, I wouldnt,+ said Masha.
)Then "a!e the corresponding conclusions and "ar! the" well*+ the owl said and
ruffled up.
)7ont "ind her* She gru"bles all the ti"e. Shes of such a nature. Lets go to the
table*+ @la"y whispered, ta!ing Masha aside.
,e led the friends through an underground garden. It was gloo"y in the garden and
they had to go by feel.
)(hy is it so dar!/ (hat are you hiding here/+ as!ed %oo!ar.
),ere grow the thorniest cacti in the world, but they cant stand light at all. They say
the cacti can fulfill the cherished desire of the one who sees the" when they bloo",+
@la"y explained.
),ave they already bloo"ed/+ the doll #lga as!ed.
)=ot yet, but who !nows when itll happen,+ @la"y replied seriously.
@ro" the underground garden, the friends found the"selves in the living roo". The
living roo" of dragons was co"pletely dissi"ilar to that of hu"ans. The ar"chairs and
sofas in it were flying freely through the air, and a luxuriously decorated table was
circling near the ceiling. Light ca"e fro" the hundreds of colourful windows in the
ceiling and the walls.
)@our of us live here. Frandpa, Ma"a, Misfit, and "e. Ma"a you already !now.
0nd this is "y grandpa*+
#n one of the couches, with paws tuc!ed under hi", lay a huge dragon with silvery
scales. ,e was two$headed and both of his heads were loo!ing at Masha with interest.
)These are "y friends, Frandpa Forynych*+
@la"y "ade the introduction.
)%leased to "eet you*+ Frandpa Forynychs heads said in a deep bass in a dis-ointed
chorus and then discontentedly loo!ed as!ance at each other.
0s "entioned already, Frandpa Forynych had two heads and both were of a
difficult nature. @or"erly they :uarrelled in early youth but still could not "a!e peace
Forynych is a dragon$li!e creature in Slavic "ythology. ,e has three heads that breathe fire, wal!s on
two bac! paws, and has two s"all front paws. 0ccording to an epic poe", he was !illed by 7obrynya
=i!itich. See %art 1 2hapter G.
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now. So"eti"es their relationship went so far that the heads co""unicated only
through an interpreter, a role that @la"y usually too! on.
)Frandson, as! this scatterbrain
where he "isplaced "y glasses*+
Forynychs right head would say then,
not loo!ing to the left.
)Tell hi" to loo! for it hi"self, old
stu"p*+ the left head would reply.
So"eti"es Forynychs heads
te"porarily "ade peace and started to
tal! about old ti"es. ,owever, at the
"ost interesting places one would
begin without fail to catch the other on
inaccuracies and accuse it of senility.
)It was, as far as I re"e"ber, four
hundred years ago,+ the left said.
)=ot four hundred, but two
hundred. Then another @rench"an
ca"e*+ the right specified.
)The @rench"an ca"e after, but
then you still wanted to get "arried.
'e"e"ber now, scatterbrain/+
)I wanted to get "arried/ 0
co"plete lie* Its you who wanted to*
<ou never had any taste*+
The heads would have nothing to
do with each other and pointedly
turned away.
,aving greeted Frandpa Forynych
and @la"ys "a"a, the friends -u"ped into ar"chairs flying up and soared to the
ceiling. %oo!ar li!ed flying in an ar"chair so "uch that he flew all over the living roo"
in it and circled around the table, snatching the tastiest pieces. #lga beca"e asha"ed of
%oo!ar and began to "a!e re"ar!s to hi" in a loud whisper. This so a"used
Forynychs right head that it cho!ed on pepper co"pote.
@la"ys "a"a turned out to be a s!ilful coo!. &esides pepper and "ustard dishes,
she "ade yet another huge ca!e. The ca!e she "ade was the si;e of a boo!case. Anough
for a hundred people.
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)(hen I was coo!ing, I didnt !now exactly what si;e Masha would turn out to be
and decided to be safe. I cant stand it when "y guests leave the table hungry. (here a"
I going to put the leftovers of the ca!e now/+ Ma"a 7ragon as!ed anxiously.
)(ont be any leftovers*+ %oo!ar assured her and -u"ped right into the crea".
%oo!ar disappeared headfirst. Sweet -elly closed over hi" li!e a :uag"ire. Several
seconds passed and the ca!e started to sin! right in front of their eyes and suc!ed in
fro" inside as if with the strongest vacuu" cleaner. Soon the whole "iddle of the ca!e
was gone and a triu"phant %oo!ar, with a bloated belly, appeared on the dish. ,e was
soiled with crea" fro" head to toe, but sated as never before.
)@or such a s"all !id, you have a fairly good appetite,+ Ma"a 7ragon
ac!nowledged, eating "ustard pies the si;e of a pillow.
Forynychs heads clin!ed glasses and dran! up a shot of pepper vod!a. It went well
with the right head. It even grunted. ,owever, the left cho!ed, coughed, and issued a -et
of stea" fro" an ear.
The cat Muffin also would not be outdone. She curled up li!e a ball on the ar"chair,
and a school of fried fish circled above her head. @ro" ti"e to ti"e, at regular intervals,
a fish separated fro" the school and dived right into the cats "outh. Muffin si"ply
swooned with happiness. (hy no brea!fast in bed/
(hen the "eal was done, Ma"a 7ragon said to @la"y, )Son, show your friends the
island* 0nd ta!e Frandpa Forynych with you.+
)Island/ 0re we really on an island/+ Scholarch!ins red cap flew off fro" surprise.
)Eh$huh* #n the island of &uyan, in the ocean$sea...+
@la"y confir"ed.
&uyan in Slavic "ythology is a "ysterious island in the ocean, which can appear and disappear, with
"iraculous power and "agical things that help heroes in their battles with evil. In the ocean2sea si"ply
"eans a vast expanse of water.
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!ha"ter Three
#% THE &S.(%D #F B$)(%
Frandpa Forynych spo!e about the island of &uyan, and he !new a lot.
Scholarch!ins noteboo! bulged fro" a "ultitude of all !inds of infor"ation. Forynych
seldo" happened to "eet so attentive and grateful an audience. The old fellow too! a
li!ing to the guests, found a lot to tal! about, and in ti"e restored peace between his
heads. ,e sat the guests on his bac! and soared above the island with the".
Masha learned that &uyan was far away in the ocean. It was covered on top by a
cobweb woven by "agic sil!wor"s. (hile the web was intact, &uyan was invisible either
fro" the s!y or fro" a ship. ,ence, very few people on Aarth !now this little fantastic
)<ou say that &uyan is invisible, but we see it* 0 contradiction*+ as!ed the gno"e
Scholarch!in, who was fond of accuracy in everything.
)(hat, didnt I indeed tell you/+ Forynych was surprised. ,is heads loo!ed
reproachfully at each other. )#ur &uyan is only hidden fro" adults, and the "agic web
doesnt apply to children. Therefore, you could turn up here.+
)(hen were grown, we wont be able to visit you at least so"eti"es/+ Masha as!ed.
She guessed by herself what the answer would be, but was disappointed all the sa"e
when Forynych replied, )&uyan is open to you only while youre !ids.+
Forynych either fell towards the ground or soared up under the clouds. ,e flew
around the island so that the guests could view it. The dragon showed Masha the
Tal!ing @orest, the Anchanted Ialley, and the Lifeless Mountains.
)3eep this in "ind* In the Lifeless Mountains live the Miseries.
%ro"ise that youll
never go there*+ Forynych warned the".
Masha wanted to !now "ore about the Miseries but felt that it was unpleasant for
Forynych to tal! about it. The dragon grew significantly gloo"y "entioning the
inhabitants of the Lifeless Mountains.
)0t the edge of the forest I saw such a strange little house on chic!en claws. (ho
lives there/+ the doll #lga as!ed to distract Forynych fro" unpleasant thoughts.
)Little house on chic!en claws/ ,a$ha* Say again. chic!en feet* Its the hut on
chic!en legs*+ @la"y, who was flying next to grandpa, set her straight. )&aba$<aga
there. The dearest old lady. I often visit her. &aba$<aga is nice, though she also li!es to
gru"ble a bit. Lets visit her right now.+
In Aast Slavic "ythology, there are s"all invisible evil sprites called 1lydni Jwic!ed creaturesK that bring
"isfortune to any ho"e that they settle in. It is necessary to get rid of the" by deception and once that is
done, the ho"e will beco"e wealthy.
&aba$<aga is a Slavic fol!loric character, an aged crone and a witch that lives in the forest in a hut on
chic!en legs.
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@la"y and Frandpa Forynych went down to the hut on chic!en legs. 0 broo"
leaned against a ric!ety fence. 0 fat blac! cat was lying near the broo", sunning hi"self.
Muffin, as soon as she spotted hi", :uic!ly washed up and arched her bac! co:uettishly.
),el$lo* (h$at have we he$re* (hy did you co$"e to us/+ the cat purred la;ily. It
was obvious that he would not "ind chatting and was loo!ing for a suitable opportunity
to "a!e conversation.
)This is the cat Meown. 0nd this is Masha, #lga, %oo!ar, the bunnies Sineus and
Truvor ...+ @la"y said.
,owever, Meown had little interest in the bunnies or even all the others. ,e had
secretly spied Muffin and was apparently pondering whether to be better ac:uainted
with her.
)0nd whos this so fluffy one/+ The cat fluffed up his whis!ers, stood up, and
stretched. Meown was larger than Muffin and presented hi"self as a cat in his pri"e.
)My na"es Martha, I" a cat. <ou can call "e Muffin*+ Muffin dropped her eyes
and began to paw the sand.
)I dont doubt that youre a cat. <ou dont loo! at all li!e a dog,+ said the cat Meown,
reaching out and sniffing Muffins ear.
)(ha$at pur$r$r$fu"e do you use/+ he drawled.
)Aau$de$2ologne*+ %oo!ar, not pleased to re"ain on the sidelines, tried to stir
things up.
)To$o$o no$oi$sy here* (ant "e to show you how potatoes bloo"/ Its so
gla"orous*+ Meown loo!ed at %oo!ar as at an e"pty place and set off to the garden with
Meanwhile, the "istress of the hut on chic!en legs, &aba$<aga, loo!ed out of the
window when she heard their voices. ),ar!$har!* (hos calling on us/ =ow Ill sto!e
the oven, chop firewood, and eat you*+
Sineus and Truvor believed it and started to whi"per. The old wo"an softened,
pitied the bunnies, and gru"bled, )7ont worry, s:uirts, I was !idding. 2o"e to "e, Ill
give you gingerbread. &ut go cry on the beds, the onion there hasnt been watered for a
long ti"e.+
)(atch what happens now*+ @la"y whispered "ischievously and loudly gave an
order, ),ut, hut* Turn your bac! to the forest and your front to "e* Stand up as before,
as "other placed you*+
The hut cluc!ed, s:uea!ed, and turned. 0n alar"ed crow flew down fro" the roof.
)(hat a cool little house* ,ut, hut* 2ircle* @orward, "arch* 2ount off house
nu"bers one after another*+ %oo!ar caught fire.
,owever, instead of obeying, the hut raised one of its chic!en legs and, after folding
it up carefully, showed %oo!ar the finger.
)Its learned. 'ecogni;es its own,+ @la"y said, co"forting a disconcerted %oo!ar.
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)Anter the parlour, dear guests* Fuests are always welco"e here, especially if they
dont stay too long,+ &aba$<aga archly invited.
Masha and her friends entered &aba$<agas. 0 large 'ussian stove occupied half of
the roo". &unches of herbs hung on the walls. %hials and bottles with decoctions for all
afflictions and illnesses stood on the shelves.
)I wont feed you* Its so clear that you -ust ca"e fro" the table. Aspecially this
bubble,+ &aba$<aga said and po!ed %oo!ars tu""y with a gnarled finger.
%oo!ar sul!ed, went to the other end of the hut away fro" <aga, and angrily began
to pic! the whitewash off the stove with a nail. ,e spotted a bas!et of red apples on a
bench, loo!ed sideways at the hostess, and after unnoticeably ta!ing an apple, bit off
half. ,e had not yet "anaged to swallow it when he felt that so"ething wrong was
happening to hi". ,is short legs stretched out and horns erupted on his head. ),elp*+
%oo!ar wanted to yell but it ca"e out, )&aa* &aa*+
Masha turned around and saw a rather chubby !id in a -ac!et with "any poc!ets.
)<ou dont lift apples without per"ission* =ow Ill leave you a !id* <oull grow up
and beco"e a goat*+ gru"bled &aba$<aga, who i""ediately understood everything.
%oo!ar bleated and indignantly sto"ped his hoofs.
@la"y and Masha begged the hostess to lift the spell off %oo!ar. #nly the doll #lga,
declaring that %oo!ar was "uch "ore li!eable as a !id in her opinion, was against it.
&aba$<aga gave %oo!ar another apple, s"all and sour. The !id bit it off and instantly
stood up on its hind legs, gradually assu"ing the features of the for"er %oo!ar. #nly a
s"all white tail re"ained and did not want to vanish at all. %oo!ar felt it to be a great
burden and de"anded to have the tail re"oved.
)=ot all at once* %atience* In a day, the tail will fall off by itself. &ut if you pull it, itll
re"ain,+ &aba$<aga warned hi". 0lthough %oo!ar did not want to wait, he had to.
&aba$<aga was gru"py but had a !ind heart. She gave Masha a "agic herbal tea to
drin!, after saying, )7rin! up* <oure a beauty now* (hen you grow up, youll be even
"ore so* 0 girl whos a lovely sight*+
The old wo"an gave the gno"e Scholarch!in a noteboo! with a soft leather
binding. It loo!ed sli" but the pages never ended, he could write as "uch as he wanted.
Sineus and Truvor received fro" &aba$<aga a "agic carrot, which did not get any
s"aller after three days of nibbling. 0 self$boiling pot fell to the doll #lgas lot. %oo!ar at
first wanted to as! for a "agic sword, but then contented hi"self with a bottle$opener
that was, it goes without saying, also "agical. %oo!ar regularly had difficulties with big
-a" -ars, but this opener did everything by itself. Aven searched for -ars by itself. It was
only necessary to stri!e the handle on the floor three ti"es.
,aving presented the guests with gifts, &aba$<aga sent the" pac!ing fro" the hut
and cli"bed onto the stove herself. In the courtyard, the friends "et the cat Muffin in a
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terrible te"per. It turned out that the cat Meown had inadvertently do;ed off in the sun
during a private conversation with the lady.
),e purred and purred. (anted to !iss "y paw and then ? ba"* ? was snoring*+
Muffin was hopping "ad.
)That doesnt surprise "e a bit* <ou, Muffy, are the best cure for inso"nia,+ %oo!ar
said sarcastically, covering his goat tail with his hand.
)Lets play ni"ble*+ @la"y suddenly suggested.
)(hat is it/+
)Its playing tag, hide and see!, catch, and follow$the$leader all at the sa"e ti"e*+
=i"ble turned out to be a fascinating ga"e. The day flew by unnoticed. =ear the
end, the friends were so covered in pollen that they were li!e overgrown bees.
The sun was already hanging over the hori;on. It would soon get dus!y. @ine days
so"ehow always end :uic!ly and only boring ones stretch endlessly. @lower buds began
to close. &aba$<agas hut tuc!ed the chic!en legs under itself and went to sleep. 'aven
cawing wafted out of the Tal!ing @orest. @la"ys face beca"e concerned. )Ti"e to go*
Ma"a will be worried* 0nd loo! out that the Miseries dont appear* (e "ust "anage
before the first star, or the "ountain wont open*+
)(hat are these Miseries/ I bet Ill deal with the" double :uic!* They -ust dont
!now what a blow I can deliver with "y forehead*+ %oo!ar declared.
=ot saying a word, @la"y grabbed %oo!ar by the -ac!et collar with his teeth and
too! off. Masha, holding the bunnies by the hands, the cat Muffin, #lga, and
Scholarch!in barely !ept pace with @la"y. They could not understand why the young
dragon was in such a hurry, but his unease was passed onto the". The friends fled with
all their "ight, trying not to be left behind.
,owever, here was 7ragon Mountain. @la"y unclenched his teeth and %oo!ar
tu"bled onto the grass. ),ow could you treat a great hero who raised you this way/+
%oo!ar was outraged, leaping up and sha!ing down his pants. The others ran up. @la"y
shouted in a hurry,
)/*en gate
-ith a key2lock,
And a golden kerchie$.+
The passage in the cliff opened up. The torches on the walls bla;ed up. The owl
@i"as eyes blin!ed li!e yellow traffic lights. @la"y pushed Masha to the cave entrance.
,e loo!ed troubled. The cat Muffin, #lga, the bunnies, and Scholarch!in hurried after
Masha. @la"y pic!ed up a displeased %oo!ar by the collar and -u"ped into the cave with
hi". 0s soon as they got on the stairs, the cliff closed tightly shut, al"ost catching
Mashas s!irt. The first star had ascended.
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)(hew* >ust "ade it* 0nother "inute and wed have to spend the night in the
forest. There the Miseries would indeed sei;e us. =ight is their ti"e*+ @la"y sighed with

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!ha"ter Four
THE ST#R) (B#$T THE &S.(%D #F B$)(% (%D THE -&SER&ES
)I was very worried* Son, how can this be/+ Ma"a 7ragon "et the friends at the
threshold of the living roo". @la"y dropped his eyes guiltily. ,e did not li!e "a!ing his
"a"a worry.
)Ive already heard about the Miseries so "any ti"es but !now nothing about
the".+ Masha could not stand it.
Ma"a 7ragon hesitated, pondering, and nodded sadly. )@ine* Ill tell you. #nly its
bedti"e for the bunnies* 2o"e on, !ids, Ill put you in @la"ys old cradle.+
The cradle turned out to be not s"all, and there was roo" on the pillow for both
bunnies together on the bed. They curled up, tossed and turned a little, and fell asleep.
Sineus and Truvor were so tired out with running about in the day that they did not even
de"and a fairy tale.
)=ow Ill show you your roo"*+ Ma"a 7ragon led Masha, Muffin, the doll #lga,
Scholarch!in, and %oo!ar to a spacious bedroo" with a fireplace, very cosy and war".
%oo!ar i""ediately towed in by air a flying ar"chair fro" the living roo" and
declared that he would spend the night in it. Masha, #lga, and the gno"e Scholarch!in
lay down together in one huge bed with a real feather "attress, in which they al"ost
disappeared co"pletely, and the cat Muffin stretched out by the burning fireplace.
%oo!ar hung his head fro" the flying chair. )%lease tell us about the Miseries* <ou
pro"ised* I "ust !now what is in store for "e to beat.+
Ma"a 7ragon laughed -oylessly. )@orget about it* (here are you going to cross
swords with the", ty!e/+ She poured out the following story to the guests.
)#nce, the whole Aarth was the sa"e as the island of &uyan. 3nights, !ings, and
princes lived in it. Life in those days was "uch "ore interesting than now. %rincesses
turned into frogs, and in order to brea! the spell, it was necessary to "arry the". 0s a
result, the de"ographic proble" was dealt with by itself. #nly the voluntary Society of
%rotection of @rogs, established by a fa"ily of gru"py witches, ob-ected. Monsters and
giants were encountered everywhere. 3ind s"iling robbers buried countless treasures in
the ground, only they were not la;y and dug about three ti"es with a shovel. 3ings were
happy to divide their !ingdo"s in half and were very offended if so"eone refused the".
),owever, over ti"e, there were "ore and "ore people but fewer and fewer good
adventures and tales. @irst the "onsters and the giants disappeared, indeed they were
wiped out very ;ealously. Then the princess$frogs so"ehow all :uic!ly rushed out to get
"arried and new ones did not appear ? the secret of the "agic was lost. Seven grouchy
witches were in glee. Mer"aids and water$sprites were caught along with fish. The
"a-ority of the treasures were found, while the rest went deeper into the ground, not to
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be trac!ed down. The !ingdo"s of all the good !ings were ta!en away, while the wic!ed
were not in too "uch of a hurry to share. The river of "il! was drun! up. Scarlet flowers
were pluc!ed. Aarth was depleted of "agic.
)Then all the re"aining wood$goblins, water$sprites, house$spirits, dragons,
princesses, giants, and "er"aids "oved to the island of &uyan, invisible than!s to the
web, which the sil!wor" weaves day and night.
)The sil!wor" was created by Lonely (i;ard, the "ost powerful of good wi;ards
that ever lived on Aarth. Lonely (i;ard was very old and wise. ,e foresaw that all
fantastic beings would have to live on the island of &uyan. =ow Lonely (i;ard beca"e
the protector of @airyland. Sensing the approach of death Jwi;ards also dieK, he went to
Lifeless Mountains and settled in a tiny cave, where he turned the pages of the &oo! of
Truth day and night. That was a thousand years ago. =o one has seen hi" since.
)Life in @airyland continued to ta!e its course until a terrible stor" bro!e out a
hundred years ago. The invisible web was torn to shreds by the wind and rain, and
before the sil!wor" wove a new one, the Miseries suddenly appeared. It isnt !nown
where they ca"e fro" and what they loo! li!e. #n dar! nights, they drag away those
island inhabitants who dont "anage to hide in their ho"es, which increasingly beco"e
li!e fortresses. They also say that the Miseries settled so"ewhere in Lifeless
Ma"a 7ragons voice tre"bled, as if she !new a little "ore than she had said. She
finished her story, but nobody uttered a sound. Averyone was still i"pressed by what
they had heard. Masha, and not only Masha, no longer wanted to sleep. <ou try sleeping
when the "ysterious Miseries are roa"ing so"ewhere close by. #nly %oo!ar was not
frightened but, on the contrary, beca"e ani"ated. )Ill beat the Miseries* Let the" co"e
to "e here*+
%oo!ar pluc!ed up courage and struc! the bac! of the flying ar"chair with his fist.
The ar"chair buc!ed in surprise and %oo!ar fell down into Mashas ar"s. The girl set
the hero on her !nees and began to co"b his tangled red hair. %oo!ar tore away,
protested, and sought to fight with the Miseries, but Masha did not let hi" go until he
had cal"ed down.
)<ou -ust lie down to sleep* Theres still ti"e to"orrow to have a good tal!. @la"y
will ta!e you to Ivanush!a
to"orrow. Ivanush!a is great fun, though strange,+ Ma"a
7ragon said.
@la"y and his "other said goodnight to the guests and left. Masha tossed and
turned a little, i"agining the Miseries as either blac! birds or terrifying "onsters in
cowls. ,owever, fatigue soon overca"e her and she fell asleep.
Ivan the @ool, or Ivanush!a$duracho!, is a si"ple$"inded but luc!y and li!eable young "an in 'ussian
fol!tales. ,e is only perceived as a fool because of his si"ple nature and candour, characteristics that help
hi" in his adventures.
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In the "orning, the friends wo!e up fresh and
well$rested. %oo!ar got up first and roused the
others, flying around the roo" on the flying
ar"chair and ra""ing into everything in turn.
)(hat, are you going to sleep until noon/ (ere
going to "iss brea!fast*+ %oo!ar yelled, yan!ing the
blan!et off Masha.
0fter brea!fast, Masha, the doll #lga, %oo!ar,
Muffin, and Scholarch!in set off with @la"y for a
wal! through Tal!ing @orest. The bunnies were tired
fro" yesterdays trip and re"ained with Frandpa
Forynych. ,e !new "any fairy tales and was not
averse to telling the". Sineus and Truvor could not
believe their luc!.
There were "any "erits to Tal!ing @orest, but
there was a serious drawbac!. It was necessary to
greet every tree and bush individually, otherwise they would ta!e offence. The trees
gossiped day and night about everything that happened all around. 0ny nanny goat -ust
had to whisper even the "ost insignificant secret into the ear of a s"all insect friend and
it would beco"e !nown throughout the forest. It was not surprising that the trees
already !new about the arrival of Masha and her friends at the dragons place.
)<oure the girl fro" Moscow/+ they as!ed.
Aach ti"e Masha had to answer, )<es, I a"* Than!s* I really li!e it*+ 0fter about five
"inutes, she was very tired of the sa"e :uestions and "onotonous replies and barely
"oved her tongue.
0 s"all and bashful flower fairy addressed %oo!ar respectfully and called hi" an
irresistible young "an. It was not !nown with what purpose she did it. %erhaps she
wanted to flatter the "etropolitan guest or was si"ply "yopic. %oo!ar beca"e awfully
puffed$up and was wal!ing around with an i"portant air till the end of the day, stic!ing
out his belly and nodding to the others condescendingly. ,e loo!ed so funny that Masha
barely restrained herself fro" laughing out loud.
@inally, they ca"e to the edge of the forest. The young dragon pointed to a s"all log
cabin. Its owner was sitting on the porch and playing a reed flute.
),ere lives Ivan the fool. #nly dont you call hi" a fool, or else hell be offended,+
@la"y whispered.
%oo!ar ran up to Ivanush!a and loo!ed at hi" sourly, )So you are Ivan the @oo...+
%oo!ar said, then re"e"bered @la"ys re:uest and faded.
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)(hat @oo../ (hats the @oo../+ Ivanush!a, s:uinting slyly, as!ed, having stopped
playing. In reality, Ivanush!a was not a fool at all, but he loved to wor! for the publics
benefit and in general upheld the established opinion.
Masha rushed to %oo!ars assistance. )@oo../ ,e was referring to your flute. ,e li!es
the way you play*+
)0h, the flute* Then Ill play so"e "ore for you*+ Ivanush!a was pleased and how he
played* The "usical Muffin al"ost fainted.
Ivanush!a bro!e into a s"ile and
rushed to show the birdhouse, which he
had "ade for songbirds. ,e cli"bed onto
the roof and !noc!ed on the birdhouse
with a finger. )2hir$p* 2hir$p*+ ca"e fro"
)(ow* Singing* It "eans theyre at
ho"e*+ Ivanush!a was happy and coc!ed
his head. ,e then invited the guests to his
%oo!ar i""ediately felt at ho"e here.
It was as "essy in Ivanush!as hut as in
%oo!ars boot. Things were lying in piles on
the table and on the floor. The stove had
not been sto!ed. 0n overgrown geraniu"
bloo"ed on the windowsill and flies
drowsily hit against the glass.
)=o ti"e for tidying up. Since "y
sister 0lenush!a
disappearred, everything has fallen apart at ho"e,+ Ivanush!a said in
)(here did she go/ Fot "arried and ran off/+ the tactless %oo!ar as!ed.
0 tear slid down Ivanush!as chee!. )The Miseries dragged her away. 0lenush!a
went by the water in the evening and never returned. I searched and searched, called
and called*+
Averybody felt unco"fortable. They felt sorry for Ivanush!a and wanted very "uch
that the sister 0lenush!a and the brother Ivanush!a had never parted, that everything
shone and bloo"ed in their cabin on the edge of Tal!ing @orest.
%oo!ar tugged Ivanush!as pant leg encouragingly. )Ill help you find your
Ivanush!a s"iled sadly and stro!ed %oo!ars red hair.
In the 'ussian fol!tale Sister Alenushka and .rother Ivanushka, Ivanush!a turns into a goat after
drin!ing fro" a well. 0lenush!a agrees to "arry the rich "an who wants to ta!e care of both of the".
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Averyone was :uiet on the way bac!. If only they could help the inhabitants of the
island of &uyan to deal with the Miseries* ,owever, none of the friends !new exactly
what to do and therefore their "ood was poor. #nly %oo!ar and the gno"e
Scholarch!in were whispering to each other. It loo!ed li!e they were deciding on
Suddenly, a wind ca"e up and the tal!ing trees crea!ed, )Terrible news, awful
news* The Miseries dragged the cat Meown away at night*+
The cat Muffin "eowed angrily and arched her bac!. )This is outrageous* The cat
"ay have fallen asleep on a date, but he didnt deserve to be !idnapped by the Miseries*
Ill show the" what "odern Moscow cats are capable of* Ill cover the" with scratches*
Theyll regret that they were born*+
The trees heard Muffins words and delivered the" throughout the forest. The
ru"our :uic!ly ac:uired all new details. )The cat challenges the Miseries* She says that
shell tear the" apart with her claws* Long live the cat$liberator* Muffin challenged the
Miseries* She says they wont even have any bones left*+
),ow rec!less* =ow the Miseries will definitely find out and get into a rage*+ @la"y
said, sha!ing his head.
,owever, every little flower loo!ed at the cat Muffin with hope and ad"iration.
)Liberator* Liberator*+ they repeated.
)2at$liberator*+ %oo!ar "i"ic!ed. )Incredible* <our co"plete lac! of "odesty,
Muff, always a"a;es "e*+
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!ha"ter Fie
-$FF&% THE !(T3.&BER(T#R
&y the evening, every leaf of Tal!ing @orest !new that a ferocious and fearless cat,
which could tear the Miseries to pieces with her claws, had shown up in @airyland.
@lowers bowed when she appeared and ad"ired Muffins beauty and courage.
)0nd you cant say that she loo!s so dangerous*+ so"e whispered.
)<ou -ust havent seen her claws* They slide out to four "etres and split even an oa!
trun!,+ others assured the".
Muffin instantly beca"e a universal cult figure. The cat herself in her heart
considered that she deserved all this praise. )Since birth Ive had a feeling that I have to
do so"ething special*+ she said.
%oo!ar was -ealous of the cats success. )(hy does nobody proclai" "e the %oo!ar$
liberator/ ,ow blind is ru"our* 7ont they indeed !now that when %oo!ar gets down to
business, success runs to hi" at brea!nec! speed/+
),ow could it not brea!, this nec! of yours...+ #lga added.
The friends laughed "irthlessly. They !new that they would need all their fortitude
to free 0lenush!a and Meown. Scholarch!in opened his noteboo! and prepared his
pencil. )7oes anybody have a plan/+
%oo!ar per!ed up. )Eh$huh* <ou need to snea! up on the Miseries and pounce on
the". &a"* 0nd its a sure thing* 0lenush!a freed, and the Miseries punished.+
)<ou, %oo!ar, have watched too "any fighters on TI. Ive never heard of a "ore
"iserable plan. 7o you thin! about what youre saying/ HSnea! up... pounce* The bears
in Tal!ing @orest are stronger than you, and theyve all been dragged off,+ said a sensible
Masha ca"e up with so"ething better. She proposed going to &aba$<aga for her
advice on how to crac! down on the Miseries. &aba$<aga could give good advice.
(hen they ca"e up to the hut on chic!en legs, the old wo"an was ru""aging
about in the garden. She was in a bad "ood and gru"bling, )'oving !itty, darn it all*
<ou gad about all the ti"e through the night, now youre done roa"ing. 2ould have sat
at ho"e, wouldve been better off. &onehead*+
0lthough &aba$<aga was "ad at Meown, it was obvious that she was bored without
the cat. =oticing Masha, the old wo"an bec!oned her with a gnarled finger. )I heard
and heard about your venture. Incredible, what fools* Tru"peted to the whole forest*
=ow every fly !nows about it. 2at Muffin$liberator* Indeed, eh, ta!en it into your head
to battle the Miseries/+
)<es, grand"other. (ill you help us/+
),ow will I help you/ (hat a" I, an old wo"an hero/ I" an elderly wo"an and I
dont participate in battles* (hat do you want fro" "e/+
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Scholarch!in loo!ed searchingly at &aba$<aga. )Magic sword/
boots/ 0n apple on a saucer with a gold ri"/+
),ow do you li!e that* =osed out everything* They !now better than the old wo"an
herself what lies in the trun!,+ &aba$<aga threw up her hands.
)(e read fairy tales,+ the doll #lga explained.
)So be it* Ill help*+ &aba$<aga led the guests into the hut and opened the trun!. The
old wo"an ru""aged in it for a long ti"e and pulled out a crac!ed saucer. )Muite worn*
7oesnt "atter. it still serves "y will*+
<aga set a "agic apple rolling
along the saucer. I""ediately there
was a noise on the botto" li!e a TI
that needs tuning. Then on the
saucer appeared an i"age of an
unpleasantly depressing place.
heavy roc!s overhanging a barely
perceptible trail, a low grey s!y, and
a large castle with towers and a
drawbridge. The towering walls of
the fortress, surrounded by a "oat
with water, were overgrown with
"oss. There was not a soul visible
in the vicinity.
),ow are we to get there/ <ou would have to fly on a "agic carpet or run in seven$
league boots*+ Masha as!ed.
&aba$<aga grinned.
)Lifeless Mountains arent so easy to overco"e. 0 spell has been cast on the". 0
"agic carpet wont fly over and seven$league boots wont go past. Lonely (i;ard
i"posed this ban a thousand years ago so that he wouldnt be distracted fro" serious
thoughts. I tried to fly down on the "ortar once. Thought perhaps the spell had
dissipated. =ot so* Its as if a wall bloc!s the "ortar. ,ave to go on foot, if you "a!e up
your "ind. So, doveys*+
&aba$<aga too!t a "agic tablecloth and a cap of invisibility out of the trun!, )(hat
to do with the tablecloth and the cap, youll figure out without "e. >ust watch you dont
lose the". Theyre "y one and only. =o others.+
In 'ussian fol!lore, so"e heroes get this sword, which is "agical and "a!es the owner invincible, fro"
so"e secret cache.
In 'ussian fairy tales, when one rolls an apple on a saucer, it is possible to see what is happening in
faraway places or where so"e fairytale character can be located.
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)7o you want us to write you a receipt
according to all regulations/+ %oo!ar proposed.
)<ou learn the letters first, writer*+ #lga
nudged hi" with an elbow.
The friends than!ed &aba$<aga and "ade up
their "inds to leave.
&efore saying goodbye to Masha, the old
wo"an :uic!ly "ade the sign of the cross over her.
)Though I" &aba$<aga, but, loo!, itll help*+
Then the old wo"an hurriedly turned away. She was touched, but considered that it
was proper for <aga to be brus:ue and gru"py.
Masha ca"e out of the hut on chic!en legs i"bued with a new feeling. Three days
ago, she could not have i"agined that she would be in @airyland and have the courage to
challenge the Miseries. The cat Muffin stepped softly next to Masha. %oo!ar,
Scholarch!in, and #lga travelled on top of the young dragon. @la"y was serious and
"elancholy. ,e was thin!ing how distressed his "a"a would be when she found out
that he and his friends were going to the Miseries fortress.
@la"y went up to the cliff where his ho"e was and :uietly uttered the usual,
)/*en gate
-ith a key2lock,
And a golden kerchie$.+
The boulder rolled to the side and the torches lit up. The owl @i"a sadly blin!ed her
heavy eyelids. Ma"a 7ragon was standing by the fountain and loo!ing at @la"y. It
see"ed to hi" that Ma"as eyes were red, or "aybe it was si"ply the torches/
)Ma"a, we...+ @la"y was about to begin but Ma"a 7ragon interrupted hi". She
already !new everything.
)To"orrow "orning*+
Ma"a 7ragon gasped and hugged @la"y with her soft paws. Frandpa Forynych
ca"e up.
)(hats there to hide/ (e !new that sooner or later this wwould happen. There was
an ancient prophecy about a girl and a young dragon that would free the island of &uyan
fro" the Miseries,+ the right head said.
)<oure really sure that its not about a cat/ <ou havent "ixed up anything/+ Muffin
warily as!ed.
This refers to the fact that &aba$<aga is a witch, while the sign of the cross is a 2hristian blessing ritual.
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Forynychs left head s"iled. )Maybe "y brother si"ply forgot about the cat... ,is
noggin is full of holes,+ he said.
)Shifting the bla"e*+ the right "uttered through clenched teeth.
Muffin was consoled.
)To"orrow "orning well ta!e you to Lifeless Mountains. <oull have to go further
by yourselves*+ said Ma"a 7ragon.
)(hy didnt the prophecy tal! about Scholarch!in and "e/ (hy are we worse than
the others/+ %oo!ar was outraged.
Forynychs heads again had to engage in diplo"acy, clai"ing that %oo!ar and the
gno"e could also be "entioned in the prophecy. So"ewhere between the lines.
The preparation lasted all night. =obody slept. They decided not to ta!e Sineus and
Truvor with the". The hi!e was dangerous. &esides, the bunnies were also not too eager
to fight with the Miseries.
0t dawn Forynych and Ma"a 7ragon brought Masha and her friends to Lifeless
Mountains. They could not go any further because of the spell i"posed on all adult
inhabitants of @airyland.
Lifeless Mountains staggered one with their height and inaccessibility. It see"ed
they were resting against the s!y. 0 single roc!y trail, here and there al"ost
i"perceptible, led upwards. It was obvious that no one had gone along it for a long ti"e.
)(hat lofts theyve built for the"selves* I regret that I" not a "ountain goat,+
%oo!ar was carried away.
)<ou had the chance. Strange that you didnt ta!e advantage of it,+ the doll #lga said
Masha, @la"y, %oo!ar, #lga, and Scholarch!in cli"bed up the roc!y path. Muffin
went ahead. She was the "ost dexterous and not afraid of heights. %oo!ar and #lga rode
"ost of the way on @la"ys bac!. Their short legs did not allow the" to "ove fast
enough. 0t ti"es the footpath stretched to a precipice and they had to wal! with their
bac!s pressed against the cliff. It was i"possible to loo! down. the head would start to
spin and it was easily possible to fall down. ,owever, the friends !new that courage
always ca"e with reward in @airyland. If you want so"ething very "uch, your wish will
definitely co"e true.
0t around eleven %oo!ar began to de"and a second brea!fast. )I agree we already
had brea!fast in the "orning* &ut its proper for us civili;ed people to still have a second
The friends, though, did not halt for the sa!e of a second brea!fast. Indeed, they did
not have "uch ti"e. It was necessary to go as far as possible before dar!ness. Then
%oo!ar decided to have brea!fast on the go and spread out the "agic tablecloth on
@la"ys bac!.
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)=ow Ill order about five -ars of -a"* 0nd chocolate with gingerbread*+ he said, lost
in daydrea"s.
,owever, it turned out that the tablecloth would only prepare national 'ussian
dishes, na"ely cabbage soup and !asha, and pel"eni,
in a pinch.
)(hat if I dont want cabbage soup/ (hat if I want -a"/+ %oo!ar was outraged.
2li"bing along the path up the hill was very tiring. Masha, Muffin, @la"y, and
Scholarch!in were tired. #nly %oo!ar and #lga, whod had a nap on @la"ys bac!
re"ained cheerful and insisted on continuing the -ourney. The others were si"ply
!noc!ed out.
The friends ca"e to a cree!. It was a fast shallow cree!, gurgling along the stony
slope of the "ountain. Masha and @la"y settled down to rest by the cree!. The cat and
Scholarch!in entered the water to wash. Suddenly Muffin screa"ed and -u"ped out of
the cree!. Masha and @la"y ran to her. )(hat happened, Muffin/+
)Loo!* There are flowers on our side of the strea" but not over there. ,ere the
water is light, but there it is dar!*+
True, on this side of the cree!, where they were standing, the grass was green and
flowers were growing, but on the opposite side, the grass was yellow and the flowers
drooped. There the ground of the Miseries started. #nly now did the friends reali;e how
dangerous the atte"pted underta!ing was.
)%oo!ar, are you scared/ I a", very,+ Masha whispered.
)7ont be afraid* (e have supercat Muffin with laser claws* (e wont fail with her...
,ey, SuperMuffy, why are you tre"bling/ 3eep your tail up*+ %oo!ar shouted
0fter resting, the friends crossed the cree! and set foot on the Miseries ground. It
was already past noon. It was clear that they would not "anage the dragons cave before
nightfall. So, turning bac! was not possible. It only re"ained to go forward.
)=ow, whether we want to or not, we have to beco"e heroes,+ @la"y stated.
The closer the friends got to the Miseries fortress, the "ore lifeless the view
beca"e. Frass, flowers, and trees disappeared. The cliffs beca"e higher. The footpath
narrowed and disappeared altogether towards the end.
Avening arrived without notice, but they still had not reached the Miseries fortress.
It beca"e clear that they would have to spend the night in Lifeless Mountains under the
open s!y.
%el"eni is a Siberian dish of s"all "eat$filled du"plings si"ilar in shape to tortellini.
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©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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)I love sleeping in the fresh air. a bree;e, the coolness... 0nd no "os:uitoes. #lga
li!es "os:uitoes, but I si"ply cant stand the",+ %oo!ar declared cheerfully. #lga
pursed her lips and said nothing. She had ti"e to be terribly tired of %oo!ar for the day.
)Spending the night in Lifeless Mountains* &r$r$r* Still un!nown wholl find who"
first. we the Miseries or they us*+ Scholarch!in shivered.
The friends "ade the"selves co"fortable for the night, trying to be as :uiet as
possible so as not to attract attention. Avery rustle in the "ountains resounded
hundredfold as an echo, bouncing off the stone walls of the ravine. The day was :uic!ly
fading away. @inally, the "o"ent ca"e when the sun and the "oon "et in the s!y and
then parted li!e casual ac:uaintances, after barely saying )hi*+ It was getting cold.
Masha wanted to hide with her head under a blan!et, but there was no blan!et.
)Its the Miseries ti"e* 7ont fidget, %oo!ar, lets !eep war"*+ the doll #lga
whispered, snuggling up to %oo!ar.
Muffin shivered in the chill. )(ould be nice to "a!e a fire. It was so good last night
by the fireplace...+ she said wistfully.
Scholarch!in leaped happily to his feet. )Aure!a* Muffin, youre a "iracle* This idea
has been spinning in "y head for a long ti"e, but I -ust couldnt catch it* 0 bonfire* The
Miseries are afraid of bright light, since they attac! at night* So, we need lots of light*
&uild a fire, and as soon as possible* Ive an unpleasant feeling that we arent alone
)Me too* I thin! so"eones watching us*+ the doll #lga whispered.
The friends rushed to collect firewood, but discovered none. Indeed, where could
they get dry stic!s and branches in "ountains where neither a bush nor a tree would
)=o firewood, no fire* (e cant start a fire* (e cant scare away the Miseries*+
Masha said helplessly.
In the silence, so"eones sinister laughter was distinctly heard.

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!ha"ter Si1
-&SF&T'S (DVE%T$RES &% -#S!#/
Misfit, @la"ys little sister, tried to be li!e a real girl in every way. She could
transfor" so successfully that even the scratch on her !nee was in the sa"e place as
Mashas. ,owever, outside rese"blance, in which Misfit was successful in the best way
possible, is one thing but internal rese"blance is :uite another. the character,
behaviour, favourite expressions, all the things by which parents recogni;e their
children as accurately as their faces. Misfit certainly had not considered this, but she
was deter"ined to play the role of Masha so that no one would notice her absence.
Misfit grew up on &uyan and !new about people solely through the stories of
Frandpa Forynych and &aba$<aga, both of who" were old, living on the island without
leaving for the last seven hundred years. In their belief, people were still travelling on
carts and enclosing cities with very high walls and "oats. Misfit wanted to see how cities
had changed in recent ti"es, especially as @la"y had returned to &uyan with loads of
new i"pressions and endless stories. She gladly agreed to replace Masha for a while,
while the girl visited @airyland.
(hen @la"y and Ma"a 7ragon flew away, Misfit waved goodbye to the" and
decided to ta!e a wal! around the city. That it was night outside did not stop her. It was
:uiet in the parents roo". The only sound was %apas light snoring.
)Ill be bac! before "orning* =o one will notice that I" gone,+ Misfit pro"ised
It was ris!y to sla" the door. the parents could wa!e up, so she decided to use the
window. If a chance passer$by were to loo! up at that "o"ent, he would probably have
seen a young dragon, glittering in the "oonlight, fly out of a window fro" the ninth
floor. ,aving touched the asphalt, the dragon turned into a girl in -eans and a white
turtlenec!. Misfit laughed, straightened her hair, and strolled along the city at night.
It was :uiet and deserted. The light signals were blin!ing yellow. The town see"ed
deserted. Misfit even felt disappoint"ent. =o adventures.
Aarlier she had seen fro" the window that so"ewhere far away in the city centre, a
fortress with red walls was illu"inated by spotlights. Misfit did not !now it was the
3re"lin, but the red$walled fortress re"inded her of those unassailable cities that
Frandpa Forynych had described. Misfit wanted to exa"ine the fortress up close and
she set off in the direction of 'ed S:uare.
(hen she wal!ed past a narrow dar! alley where there was not a single la"p, a
heavyset drun! approached her, swaying, and, not "a!ing out the girl in the dar!ness,
as!ed in a hoarse voice for a light.
)(ith pleasure*+ Misfit was glad to help hi", but she turned out not to have any
"atches, so she exhaled a fine red$hot fla"e a "etre long, bluish at the end, li!e the
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fla"e of a blowtorch. The drun!s cigarette i""ediately burnt to the filter. ,e loo!ed
dully at Misfit, staggered, apologi;ed, and "oved away.
)%lease call, if theres anything else I can do*+ Misfit said and went on.
The closer to the city centre, the livelier the streets beca"e. The hotels and
restaurants were crowded with people. 2ar doors sla""ed. Misfit stopped by so"e
beautiful advertising signboards and watched the theatre entrances. She had never seen
anything li!e this on the island of &uyan. =aturally, the little girl dragon was da;;led.
There was so"ething to see in the centre of Moscow.
The s"ells of a !itchen reached Misfit fro" one of the windows. They were exciting
and inviting. Misfit re"e"bered that she had not eaten anything for a long ti"e. The
girl got to the entrance and pushed open the door. 0bove the door flashed the sign
3estaurant 4ukomorie.
0t the entrance, hands behind his bac!, stood a paunchy door"an with a red face
and in a red -ac!et. )(hat do you want, girl/+ he as!ed.
)I" Misfit, that is, Masha*+
)Fo away, Masha. Ti"e for you to go to bed*+
Misfit did not li!e this. )<ou dont loo! li!e the owner of the tavern. Most li!ely,
youre -ust the watch,+ she declared.
The watch frowned and leaned over to re"ove the unwanted visitor, but fro;e with
eyes staring. the girl had disappeared.
Misfit passed through into the restaurant, chose a free table, and beca"e visible
again. 0 forward waiter in a 'ussian shirt and with a cloth in his hands instantly ca"e
running to her.
)(ho are you with, girl/ (hat shall I bring you/+
)Mustard*+ Misfit ordered.
)Mustard/+ the waiter was surprised.
)<ou really dont have "ustard in the tavern/+
)(e arent a tavern. (ere the restaurant Lu!o"orie,+ the waiter corrected her.
)0nd have you starved a lot of people to death with your onions,
rascal/ So will
there be "ustard or not/+ Misfit as!ed.
)#!ay. <ou want "ustard, youll get "ustard,+ the waiter decided to play a -o!e and
win!ed at his co"panion. )Iictor, bring "ustard, and grab the red peppercorn* =ot
"uch on the table here* &ut re"e"ber, girl, here youre supposed to eat everything you
)0greed,+ Misfit nodded.
The waiter s"iled. If the girl wants "ustard, she gets it. She only has herself to
bla"e. ),eres "ustard* ,eres pepper* %lease help yourself*+ ,e bowed fawningly.
This is a play on the restaurant na"e Lu!o"orie, as the wor! luk is 'ussian for onion.
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)Thats :uite another "atter. Should
have been so right away*+
Misfit dispatched a full spoon of
"ustard into her "outh. She had it with
the red peppercorn. She lic!ed it clean,
wor!ed with the spoon, and the -ar of
"ustard was e"pty in a "inute. The
waiter could not believe his eyes. The girls
face expressed pleasure, as if she treated
herself to strawberry ice crea".
)Is that all/ 2ant I have "ore/+ Misfit
as!ed in disappoint"ent.
The waiter turned green fro"
a"a;e"ent. )I dont believe it* This isnt
real "ustard* (here did they loo! in the
!itchen/ I as!ed for "ustard and pepper,
and what did they give "e*+
(ith these words, the waiter grabbed
the red peppercorn and bit off half. ,is face fell. Tears began to gush out of his eyes.
)0h* ,elp*+ he howled, running around the table.
)Thats right. 2apital pepper* Strange that you dont li!e it,+ Misfit confir"ed.
She tossed the waiter a gold coin "inted in ti"es of yore and left the restaurant
Lu!o"orie. The watch in a red -ac!et still sat in his chair by the door and shoo! his head
wildly. #n seeing Misfit, the porter -u"ped up fro" the chair and rushed to her. ,e
grabbed Misfit by the collar, but suddenly heard a "enacing growl and discovered that
instead of a girl he had grabbed the nape of a huge tiger growling and whipping its tail.
The porter screa"ed and let go. The tiger turned, bared its teeth, and began to prepare
for a leap.
The porter no longer screa"ed. ,e tre"bled, bac!ed away, and stayed as still as a
ti"id "ouse. 'elenting, the tiger sniffed hi", already half$dead fro" fear, and went
onto Tvers!aya Street in the direction of 'ed S:uare.
Moving away fro" the restaurant, Misfit beca"e Masha again. (hen she reached
'ed S:uare, the big cloc! showed G 6cloc!.
)Still ti"e* 2an stroll a bit "ore,+ Misfit allowed herself. She flew up to the 3re"lin
wall and began to -u"p fro" "erlon to "erlon.
0 police"an on duty on the 3re"lin wall ran up to her and "ade a re"ar!. )Little
girls arent supposed to be here at night for a wal!*+ he said.
)0re you sure that you arent drea"ing/ %inch yourself*+ Misfit suggested to hi".
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The police"an thought for a little and pinched his ear. Misfit i""ediately
disappeared. (e !now that she si"ply beca"e invisible but this was not !nown to the
police"an. ,e was very surprised and de"oted hi"self to -unior lieutenant for falling
asleep on duty.
,aving strolled along the 3re"lin wall to her hearts content, Misfit went ho"e. She
"anaged -ust in ti"e. Ma"a, co"ing in to wish her good "orning, found the girl
sleeping soundly in bed.
)Sleeping li!e a log* I even feel sorry to wa!e her up*+ she said to %apa.
)So dont. Let her sleep. Leave brea!fast on the table. She gets up, she eats...+ %apa
Ma"a, in a preoccupied way, dropped a piece of sugar into her tea and watched it
)(hats with you/+ %apa as!ed.
)=othing good* <esterday they phoned fro" Tula. My sister has sent %eter to us. I
hope he wont fight with Masha li!e last ti"e. %eter arrives today at eleven in the
"orning. (ont you "eet hi" at the station/+
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!ha"ter Seen
The sinister laughter resounded in the dar!ness. Swift shadows swept over the
heads of Masha and @la"y, and they felt a cutting "oist wind.
)Ma"a, I" afraid*+ The doll #lga shran! and closed her eyes.
The nu"ber of shadows flashing by increased. It see"ed the surrounding s!y was
filled with the". So"ething sharp dug into Mashas hand. The girl screa"ed and shoo!
off a nasty scratchy lu"p.
0 bright bea" unexpectedly cut through the dar!ness. Averyone involuntarily
reached for the light. It was %oo!ar, pulling out his flashlight and turning it on. )I
couldnt leave it at ho"e. So"eone would definitely "a!e off with it,+ he said.
In the bea" of the flashlight, a toothy "u;;le
with se"icircular ears and s:uinting blac! eyes
appeared for a "o"ent.
)&ats*+ @la"y sur"ised.
2aught in the strip of light, the bat got confused
and blindly hit the cliff. The sinister laughter bro!e
off. Several bats swiftly swooped down on %oo!ar,
trying to snatch the flashlight out of his hand, but
@la"y drove the" off with a tongue of fla"e. #ne
blinded bat cut into the roc!s and fell. The rest
apprehensively flew away and hid so"ewhere on the
edge of light and dar!ness.
The doll #lga sighed with relief.
)(hew* I thought we were finished* These are
probably the Miseries.+
)=o. The bats help the", but they arent the
Miseries*+ @la"y said confidently.
Muffin snea!ed up :uietly. The cats eyes glowed
with green fire and she was tense, as on a hunt. )(heres Scholarch!in/ ,e was here a
"inute ago* Scholarch!in, hello*+ The gno"e had disappeared. #nly his red cap was
rolling on the ground.
)Scholarch!in* (here are you/ The bats* Theyve carried hi" away* (hat horror*+
@la"y held bac! %oo!ar who, swinging the flashlight, was driving away the bats.
)Eseless to search now. The gno"es "ost li!ely already in the Miseries fortress.+
0ll night %oo!ar drew circles with the flashlight, not allowing the bats to get closer.
#nly the light and the well$ai"ed strea"s of fire issued by @la"y prevented the bats,
howling with anger, fro" pouncing on the friends.
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0n icy wind was blowing. So"ething was roaring in the belly of the cliff. It was cold
and terrifying. =ear "orning, the batteries of %oo!ars flashlight started to run down.
The ray beca"e dull and it was clear that it was about to go out. The bats also sensed
this. The flashlight wea!ened before their eyes. Its thin ray of light faded. Averybody
huddled together ready to defend the"selves, but here the rising sun filtered through
the roc!s.
Masha laughed. )7awn* (ell, ver"in, got it/+
The bats wailed, "oaned, and disappeared together with the outgoing night. 7awn
ca"e :uic!ly. %oo!ar turned off the flashlight, although this was not necessary. it had
gone out.
)2oc!$a$doodle$doo* Food "orning*+ @la"y shouted.
)(hat did you cac!le, @la"y/ 7ecided to act li!e a laying chic!en/+ %oo!ar as!ed.
The cat Muffin loo!ed at her own reflection in the puddle. )My eyes havent grown
di"/ @ur hasnt fallen out/ ,ow do I loo!/+
)Muite recogni;able. I once saw a cat that had fallen into ce"ent. <oure a beauty in
co"parison,+ %oo!ar co"forted her.
)%oo!ar, you swine*+ Muffin was offended.
)Loo!ing for relatives/ =ice to "eet you*+ %oo!ar replied.
)Loo! what I found* 2o"e here :uic!*+ the doll #lga exclai"ed.
0 spring was gushing out fro" the cliff in a fine -et. (here its sprays fell on the
ground, grass and flowers as lovely as those in Anchanted Ialley were growing. The doll
#lga ran up to the spring and washed.
)=ow youll turn into a crocodile* (e do !now these little springs*+ %oo!ar
re"ar!ed gloatingly. 0fter the incident with &aba$<agas bewitched apple transfor"ing
hi" into a !id, %oo!ar treated everything "agical with suspicion.
,owever, nothing bad happened to #lga. #n the contrary, she felt fresh and well
rested, as if there had been no sleepless night with bats and "ysterious rustles. ,er
chee!s were flushed. ,er hair, which Masha in childhood had rashly torn out with a
co"b, beca"e thic!. #lga had turned into such a beauty that one could not tear ones
eyes away. The water fro" this spring was "agical.
)#h, #lga, how youve changed*+ the cat Muffin said, carried away.
#lga loo!ed at herself in the "irror and gasped. It could only be a "iracle* She was
pretty before, but now a real beauty, one that no word could describe, loo!ed out of the
"irror at her.
Aven %oo!ar was forced to ad"it this. )=ot bad at all* I really didnt expect it*+ he
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©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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)Its the spring of living water* Frandpa told "e about it.+ @la"y yelled. ,e too! a
run and flew into the strea". ,is scales i""ediately started to shine and spar!le so that
they blinded the eyes. )(ell, whats with you/ 2o"e on*+ ,e splashed with his tail and
showered his friends with water fro" the spring.
0fter a "inute, everybody was already splashing in the strea" of living water,
-ostling each other, splashing each other, frolic!ing. #nly the cat Muffin was "eowing
on the shore, not daring to enter the water. Muffin, of course, wanted very "uch to be
beautiful but she could not stand swi""ing. In the end though, even Muffin could not
restrain herself. She closed her eyes, covered her nose with a paw, and -u"ped into the
water. ,aving plunged in, Muffin :uic!ly -u"ped out and loo!ed at herself in the
"irror. In the "irror was reflected a wet cat with thin legs and a tail logged with water.
It was difficult to deter"ine for sure whether she had grown prettier.
,owever, Muffin obviously noticed so"ething. )Meow* =ot enough*+ She -u"ped
and rushed into the spring again.
%oo!ar, #lga, @la"y, and Masha had already swu" and splashed enough and got
out to the shore to dry, but Muffin still did not cli"b out of the water and was tre"bling
very slightly.
)Fet out, youll catch cold*+ Masha yelled to her.
)($wont c$catch c$cold*+ Muffin uttered through wooden lips.
)%oor wet cat* <ou have no life but continuous tor"ent. 'e"e"ber how you dyed
yourself blonde with peroxide/+ %oo!ar sy"pathi;ed.
)&$beauty d$de"ands sa$sacrifice,+ Muffin "eowed, full of suffering.
)#nly youre not hu"an*+ %oo!ar was "ore precise. This, however, was also not
particularly relevant to the cat.
@la"y loo!ed at the sun. ),eres what. if we want to get to the Miseries castle
before sunset, then we have to leave,+ he said uneasily.
The friends started to get ready. They extracted the scratching Muffin fro" the
strea", wiped her dry with the "agic tablecloth, dran! hot tea, and continued on their
They wal!ed along a narrow path "eandering between the roc!s. Thistles and
several yellowish grasses forced their way through the crac!s in the stones. The sun
ba!ed with all its "ight and if not for bathing in the spring of living water, the travellers
could easily have gotten sunstro!e.
)I wonder, where do the bats hide during the day/+ as!ed %oo!ar.
)So"ewhere in a dar!, hu"id place. In a cave, for exa"ple,+ @la"y said.
)So uninteresting. <ou shouldnt have pro"pted. I wouldve guessed by "yself,+
%oo!ar said, put out.
The path once again turned abruptly and... the travellers ca"e to a clearing, which
was surrounded by sharp "ountain pro-ections. In the centre of the clearing, gloo"y
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and overgrown with "oss, a fortress towered "enacingly, the sa"e one &aba$<agas
"agic saucer had shown.
),ere it is, the Miseries fortress* =o one has yet returned fro" here,+ @la"y said
%oo!ar was dying to fight. )(hat are we waiting for/ @orward* (ell issue a
challenge to the Miseries* I drove away the bats, Ill chase away the Miseries too*
(heres our wet cat$liberator/ So"ehow I dont see excite"ent in her eyes*+
%oo!ar wanted to step off the path into the clearing, but @la"y held his -ac!et
sleeve. )(ait* There are traps everywhere, and under every stone is a wolf pit with
)(hat are you tal!ing about/ >ust li!e "y little anti$guest traps*+ %oo!ar was
Masha loo!ed around the clearing. )The Miseries pass through so"ehow,+ she said.
)I have an idea,+ the doll #lga suggested. )Let @la"y loo! at the glade fro" above.
The grass should be tra"pled down in the place often wal!ed on*+
@la"y wor!ed his wings and rose above the crowd. )I found the path. @ollow "e,
but dont step aside a single step,+ he shouted.
)(ell done, @la"y* <oure wonderful* 0ny beauty, even the first in the world, will be
happy to !iss you,+ the cat Muffin said, running to @la"y.
%oo!ar wedged hi"self between the cat and the young dragon. ),ed rather !iss a
rhino. 'ight, @la"y, youd rather a rhino than Muffin/+ he as!ed.
)0ll the sa"e to "e,+ @la"y replied in e"barrass"ent.
Stretched out in a chain, the friends carefully "oved after @la"y along the barely
noticeable path. The ground cru"bled in so"e places. The sharp sta!es of the wolf pits
were visible.
Masha carelessly loo!ed into the dar! inside of one such hole, and suddenly her leg
dropped onto the wet grass. )#h, hold "e*+ she screa"ed.

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!ha"ter Eight
THE T(-&%+ #F ( H$RTF$. B#)
Misfit threw bac! the blan!et such that it was swinging on the chandelier and then
-u"ped out of bed. It was good that Ma"a co"ing to her in the "orning did not notice
the "ain thing. Misfit was lying under the blan!et in -eans and snea!ers.
)(ell, ti"e to get up* The "ain thing is not to forget that I" a little girl*+ Misfit
said to herself and "ade her way to the !itchen.
)Food "orning, Masha* Slept well/+ Ma"a and %apa said.
)I "yself !now. (hats there to brag about/+ Misfit gru"bled.
Ma"a and %apa loo!ed at her with surprise and laughed. )(ell, its good that you
arent depressed already* (e want to "a!e you happy. your cousin %eter is co"ing
)I" glad. (hen does he leave/ Soon/+ Misfit had heard fro" @la"y about the nasty
boy %eter, who plagued Masha and hurt the cat.
)7ont fight with %eter* 'e"e"ber, hes your guest,+ Ma"a said.
)I wont. &ut will %eter re"e"ber that hes "y guest/+ Misfit "uttered.
@ortunately, the parents were in a hurry and did not listen to the daughter too
closely. #therwise, they would have noticed significant changes in the nature of their
%apa went to the station and brought %eter bac!. %eter had
travelled alone on the train. ,is parents had sent hi" alone on
condition that %eter would be "et in Moscow. %eter was ten
years old. ,e was a s!inny narrow$shouldered boy, irritable and
coc!y. %eter loo!ed at Misfit, or as he thought, Masha, as at
blan! space. #f course* 0 whole two years younger and,
"oreover, a girl*
),ello, s"all fry* (heres "y roo"/+ %eter threw at her,
having barely crossed the threshold.
Misfit silently loo!ed at hi" for a "inute. Axtre"e curiosity
was written on her face. )So youre %eter/ (ell, well* Tell "e,
%eter, do you ever wash your head/ <ou dont have to answer. I
can see not.+
%eter stared. ,e was not accusto"ed to being tal!ed to this
way. )#h, you s"all fry with a braid* &e than!ful that I" good
Misfit was very surprised. )'eally* So that "eans youre still
evil/ (ho would believe it* <ou have such an innocent baby
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%eter stared wide$eyed. (hat, so"e eight$year$old "idget dares call hi", ten$year$
old %eter, a baby* =ow he will teach her how to behave*
)(ell/ Flad to see each other/ The two of you will have fun*+ %apa loo!ed in the
%eters face instantly beca"e ingratiating in his presence. ,e was always a sly one.
%arents only had to turn away and %eter would begin to pinch, twist an ar", or push.
Later he would stand with such an innocent loo! that it was i"possible to i"agine that
he was capable of such a thing.
=ow %eter waited until the adults left for wor! and decided to teach Masha a lesson.
%eter thought of loc!ing her in the storeroo". )Let her sit there till the evening* Shell
learn to behave*+
In order to lure Misfit into the storeroo", %eter began the ruse. )Masha* I" sorry
that I teased you. Lets "a!e up*+
)Lets* Though, in general, we didnt :uarrel,+ Misfit agreed easily. She was a
forgiving young dragon and would easily forgive offences. )Maybe %eter isnt so bad/ ,e
couldve refor"ed co"pletely since last ti"e,+ she decided.
)(ont you show "e the apart"ent/ (heres your storeroo"/+ %eter continued to
carry out his crafty plan. Misfit was always glad to help. She led %eter to the storeroo".
)(hats inside/ #nly you go in first. #therwise, I "ight stu"ble over so"ething,+
%eter let Misfit pass through ahead. )%lease*+
Misfit had barely ta!en a step when %eter leaned on the door and loc!ed her in the
storeroo". ),a$ha* =ow you stic! around there till evening* 7id you really thin! I"
actually going to be friends with you, bug/+ he laughed nastily.
=o sound was heard fro" the storeroo". %eter did not li!e this.
)7o you hear, Masha/ I wont let you out* 0nd Ill "a!e a "ess in your roo", brea!
everything and say it was you*+ %eter raised his voice.
0gain, no one answered. It was as if he was tal!ing to hi"self and threatening
hi"self. %eter started to be annoyed, and he loo!ed into the storeroo" to see what this
bug was busy with and why she !ept :uiet. (hat he saw startled hi". The storeroo"
was e"pty.
)(here did she go/ Theres nowhere to hide*+ %eter was a"a;ed.
,e went into the storeroo" and went through all the corners, but found nothing
even re"otely rese"bling a little girl. %eter was even "ore surprised when the
storeroo" door suddenly sla""ed in his face. ,e pushed it once and againB it did not
"ove ? loc!ed. %eter reali;ed that he had been fooled. )&ut how did Masha "anage
this/ (here was she hiding/+
#f course, you already guessed that Misfit had beco"e invisible and :uietly snuc!
past %eter while he was loo!ing for her.
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)Let "e out right now* Ill beat you up*+ %eter de"anded and pounded with his fist
on the door.
)Then whats the sense of "e letting you out if youll beat "e up/+ Misfit as!ed
)#pen now* #r youll regret it*+
)I" already regretting it*+
)=o way*+
)#pen, I say***+
)%ro"ise you wont start to play dirty tric!s*+
)Ill pull off your braids*+ %eter shouted.
)<ou have ti"e till evening to change your "ind,+ Misfit said :uietly, turning to
Then %eter ca"e to his senses and cheated. )I pro"ise, I pro"ise* I wont play
tric!s*+ he hastily shouted.
(hen Misfit opened the door, %ete -u"ped out of the storeroo", red and angry. ,e
grabbed the doll #lgas little house fro" the windowsill and began to pull off its
chi"ney. %eter wanted to bring Masha to tears, and nothing hurt the little girl as "uch
as atte"pts to da"age her toys. Esually Masha would try to stop %eter and he would run
around the roo" and tease her.
=ow, however, fro" %eters point of view, Masha behaved oddly. She did not begin
to pull the dollhouse out of %eters hands or whi"per. Misfit wal!ed up to %eter without
saying a word, pic!ed hi" up by the waist, and put hi" on the wardrobe. Averything
was done cleanly and :uic!ly. %eter did not even have ti"e to wonder. ,e decided that
he had turned up on the wardrobe by chance, "aybe even cli"bed up hi"self without
noticing. ,e -u"ped down fro" the wardrobe and rushed at Misfit. %eter had never
fought with his peer group and especially not with those older, afraid of having to
surrender, but always badly treated the younger ones with enor"ous pleasure.
)=ow youll get it fro" "e*+ %eter ran to Misfit and wanted to grab her, but
suddenly... %eter could not believe his eyes. 0 dragon with silvery scales showed up in
Misfits place.
%eter fro;e with his "outh open and al"ost fainted. )Ma"a* ,elp*+ he yelled and
rushed away, but tripped over the threshold and fell flat.
%eter watched with fear as the dragon approached hi" and released a -et of fla"e.
)M$Masha, i$its you/+ %eter barely uttered.
)The sa"e* %ro"ise "e that youll never hurt girls* 'e"e"ber that any can turn
into a dragon li!e "e*+
)I d$dont believe it*+ %eter persisted.
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)Then Ill bite off your head*+ The dragon opened its "outh with triangular teeth.
Its fangs, sharp as !nives, clipped near %eters ear.
)=ow I believe, I believe* =ow I believe* Ill never hurt girls*+ %eter shouted.
)I swear*+
)(ell, loo! at "e***+
%eter, in reality, hurt not one girl any"ore. ,e really wanted to, but he re"e"bered
a fire$breathing dragon, and instead of hitting a girl, he "uttered ingratiatingly, )Let "e
carry your boo!s*+

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!ha"ter %ine
Masha slipped on the wet grass and al"ost fell
into the dar! "outh of a wolf pit with sharp stic!s
at the botto". @ortunately, @la"y "anaged to grab
her dress with his teeth.
)@la"y, you saved "e*+ Masha hugged @la"ys
@la"y bea"ed with pride. )Its nothing* I"
ready to save you every day if nothing else*+
Masha thought for a bit. )=o, better not every
day,+ she said.
The travellers approached the fortress gates,
but here a ditch bloc!ed their way. 0 frog croa!ed
in the "iddle of the ditch.
)%rincess, princess* 2ould you spare a
"o"ent/ 2ould you suggest how to cross over to
the other side/+ Muffin called.
The frog loo!ed at Muffin with bulging eyes
and dived into the "ud. The cat reali;ed that she
had "ade a "ista!e.
)%hew* I thought all frogs are enchanted
princesses,+ Muffin drawled in disappoint"ent.
The friends did not !now how to cross the
swa"p to the fortress and lower the drawbridge on
rusty chains. 0 dead tree was lying across the ditch. It de"anded significant courage to
dare step on it to go over the swa"p.
Muffin touched the trun! with a paw, chec!ing how reliable it was. Then she
carefully crossed the ditch, -u"ped onto the old cogwheel of the drawbridge, and hung
onto it with all her weight. The cat had enough bravery but clearly lac!ed the strength to
"ove the wheel. @la"y ca"e to Muffins aid. ,e flew across the ditch and stood beside
)It wasnt possible to co"e to the conclusion earlier/+ the cat as!ed sarcastically.
)I was taught ladies first,+ @la"y replied.
)If I had fallen into the swa"p/+
)7ont worry, I" sure I wouldve pulled you out,+ he cal"ed her.
Muffin and @la"y leaned their weight on the cogwheel of the drawbridge. The rusty
chain crea!edB the bridge began to lower.
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The friends ca"e to the fortress gates. %oo!ar settled in Mashas ar"s and loo!ed
round the area fro" there.
The doll #lga sat "a-estically on @la"ys bac! and turned her head curiously. ),ere
it is, the Miseries fortress*+
)<ouve repeated this a hundred ti"es. <ou "ust thin! we believe that weve co"e
to a "usic school,+ said %oo!ar.
The -o!e fell flat. =o one laughed, and to spite everyone, %oo!ar hi"self began to
laugh and laughed for about a "inute with an extre"ely angry loo!.
0fter "a!ing up her "ind, Masha stepped to the other side of the gates. The inner
courtyard of the fortress loo!ed uninhabited. It s"elt of da"pness and so"ething
"usty, as in old cellars. It loo!ed as if the city was abandoned in a big hurry. ,alf$
decayed fra"es of carts, horse bones, and rusty ar"ours were scattered about in
disorder in the courtyard. The friends loo!ed with trepidation at the re"ains of for"er
)0nd h$heres f$fun*+ %oo!ar clung tighter to Masha.
0 grinding noise was suddenly heard. The gates closedB the way bac! was cut off.
)I" scared*+ the doll #lga said, starting to tre"ble.
@la"y loo!ed around the "oss$covered walls. )Averyones scared. (e "ust find the
entrance to the underground labyrinths. The Miseries have probably hidden
Scholarch!in, the cat Meown, and 0lenush!a there.+
)(hich 0lenush!a/+ as!ed Muffin.
)0lenush!a the &eautiful, Ivanush!as sister, the niece of Iasilisa the &eautiful*
,ave you forgotten/+
)&eautiful*+ Muffin repeated in envy. )Is she really such that shes called &eautiful/
(hat an i""odest na"e she has* I, for exa"ple, wouldnt want to be called Muffin the
&eautiful* 0nd dont try to persuade "e* =o, no, and again no*+ Muffin loo!ed around,
chec!ing whether so"ebody intended on persuading her.
)(ait, @la"y, why do you thin! the "onsters live in a "a;e and not in the castle/+
Masha wondered.
)The Miseries cant stand daylight* ,ere, under the ground, is a whole stone city.
Frandpa told "e. Secret roads run through not only Lifeless Mountains but also al"ost
the entire island of &uyan. ,ow else would the Miseries "anage to get to @airyland
unnoticed at night/+ explained @la"y.
The travellers "oved along the fortress walls. They forced their way through pric!ly
shrubs, which overran the abandoned city. Suddenly, Masha saw an oa! door in the
wall. It led to a barely noticeable trail. Masha did not have ti"e to touch the door when
it swung open, as if inviting the" to enter.
This 'ussian fol!tale is about the beautiful Iasilisa being sent by her step"other to fetch fire fro"
&aba$<aga. (ith the help of a doll left by her deceased "other, Iasilisa is able to acco"plish all tas!s and
brings bac! fire, which !ills the -ealous step"other and stepsisters.
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)7ont* (e wont ta!e two steps and the door ? ba"* ? and wed be trapped*+
%oo!ar declared.
,owever, curiosity turned out to be stronger. The friends yielded to the te"ptation
to find out what was hiding in the dar!ness. There were so "any steps that the staircase
see"ed endless. Light barely filtered through the tiny windows. (ater dripped fro" the
stone arches.
),ow tired I a" of these steps* 0ll the polish has co"e off "y claws*+ the cat Muffin
,owever, here the friends found the"selves at the beginning of a dar! corridor,
which branched out repeatedly. 0 strange greenish light flooded the da"p walls.
Axa"ining closely, Masha saw a great nu"ber of tiny fireflies swar"ing in the crac!s
between the stones.
The travellers too! a do;en steps and stopped in indecision, not !nowing how to go
further. The corridors intersected, beca"e entangled, and "any of the" clearly ended in
blind alleys.
)<ou wont "anage to get out of here for a thousand years* ,eres horror*+ Muffin
"eowed plaintively.
Masha stro!ed the cat soothingly. )I once read a boo! about labyrinths. There the
author explains what to do if you get into this situation.+
)0nd/+ Muffin as!ed in hope.
)The author writes so"ething li!e. %ear reader) It is im*ossible to get out o$ a
labyrinth, there$ore it is better not to get in there,+ Masha recalled.
%oo!ar clapped his hands. )=onsense* Trust "e* #ne, two, three, four, five, into the
dar!ness we dive* The "ain law of "a;e explorers. if you want to get to where you need
to be, go to a totally different place.+
)=ext youll write the announce"ent. %eadly walks through a ma1e. #uide 5
(ookar Susanin.
I" not going with you, %oo!ar* Its better if I sit here and prepare
lunch for the ti"e being,+ the doll #lga said and spread out the "agic tablecloth.
)(ell, dont* &etter for us* 0 bigger share of the feats will co"e to us*+
%oo!ar waved his hand and decidedly "arched into the first corridor. Muffin,
@la"y, and Masha "oved behind %oo!ar, vaguely hoping that he, in fact, understood
so"ething about labyrinths. #lga settled down on a tiny stool, which she carried
everywhere with her, and started to wait. 0fter about an hour she heard approaching
footsteps. %oo!ar ca"e out fro" a far corridor and sto"ped ahead, not noticing #lga.
Masha, Muffin, and @la"y followed %oo!ar trustingly.
),ey* (heres this you set out to/+ #lga yelled.
Ivan Susanin was a 'ussian fol! hero and early 18
century "artyr. Legend has it that around 191G,
Susanin, a logger, led to their death a %olish detach"ent sent to find and !ill the newly elected tsar,
Mi!hail 'o"anov.
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Masha turned around and saw the doll #lga, who, propping up her head with her
hands, was sitting cal"ly on a stool and eating pie. ),ow did you get here/ <ou didnt
co"e with us/+ Masha was surprised.
)I went nowhere. I waited for you here. I !now your guide too well to assu"e that
hell lead you anywhere,+ #lga said, po!ing a finger in %oo!ars direction.
)0 little "ista!e slipped into "y calculations*+ %oo!ar protested. )(e shouldve
turned into the seventh tunnel after the ninth bend and the ninth tunnel after the
fourteenth bend. ,urrah* @orward* 0ssault of the "a;e*+
,e ran along the corridor, but, on turning around, saw that he was alone. %oo!ar
got upset and sto"ped his feet, but still returned to his friends. ),ey, "ove over*+ ,e
pushed #lga and sat down on the edge of her stool.
@la"y loo!ed de-ectedly around the labyrinth corridors and blew a ni"ble firefly far
away fro" his paw, )(hat shall we do/ (e have to find the Miseries before night ti"e.+
)(hy/+ Masha was surprised.
)&ecause they will find us at night,+ explained @la"y.
Masha beca"e terrified. )@la"y, you really !now how to reassure*+ she said.
Muffin "eowed with distaste and scratched her sto"ach with a paw.
)(hy are you scratching/ @leas/+ %oo!ar per!ed up.
)(hat fleas/ @ireflies*+ Muffin was offended.
)0h...+ %oo!ar was disappointed. )7oesnt "atter* @irst they "a!e the"selves at
ho"e, then they invite the fleas.+
%oo!ar was chilly. ,e hid his hands in his poc!ets and unexpectedly found a s"all
cardboard box. )Matches* (ho would have thought* 0nd I thought I had lost the"*
,avent wandered into this poc!et for a long ti"e*+
%oo!ar struc! a "atch, and a s"all fire bla;ed up in the dungeon of the Miseries
castle. Masha, @la"y, and the doll #lga stared transfixed at the tiny living fla"e. They
noticed that the light was bending all the ti"e in the direction of one of the corridors,
the "ost nondescript in appearance. They would have turned there at the last turn.
@la"y flapped his wings in haste. )I see* 0 draft* Itll show us the way out of the
"a;e. <ou need to go in the direction the fla"e bends*+ he yelled.
%oo!ar threw away the burnt$down "atch. )0gain a good idea did not co"e to "e*
So"ehow "y head isnt wor!ing well today*+ he co"plained.
)#nly today/ ,a$ha* The cotton wool probably got da"p*+ #lga suggested.

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!ha"ter Ten
-&SF&T (T (VD#2H&%('S
0fter he was subdued, %eter changed greatly. This was not the for"er nasty and
contentious boy, but a well$behaved boy.
0t first, %eter tried to co"plain to Mashas parents. ,e said that she had put hi" on
the wardrobe and later she had turned into a fire$breathing dragon. %apa and Ma"a
listened sy"pathetically to hi".
)I never thought that %eters such a... uh... i"pressionable boy. 0"ong the relatives
fro" your side there are at ti"es :uite strange ones,+ %apa said, when he and Ma"a
were alone.
Ma"a nodded. )Its his age. %eter should spend "ore ti"e outdoors. Then hell stop
seeing dragons.+
0fter staying a few days in Moscow, %eter returned to Tula. This ti"e, he went ho"e
with great pleasure.
Misfit wal!ed hi" to the door. )0ll the best, %eter* 2o"e again*+ she said.
)7ont hold your breath*+ %eter said sullenly. ,e loo!ed peevishly at Misfit and
followed %apa into the elevator.
0fter his departure, Misfit was able to continue her nightly strolls around Moscow
and successfully acted out the role of Masha during the day. ,owever, one evening the
parents ca"e ho"e fro" wor! disturbed.
)<ou !now, honey, %apa and I have to go to a conference in St. %etersburg. (ell
return in a couple of days and bring gifts,+ Ma"a said.
)(ho" will I stay with/ Frand"as in the 2ri"ea, in a resort*+ Misfit had :uite
gotten into the role of a little girl and !new what she should as! in such cases.
Ma"a hugged and !issed her. )(eve as!ed 0vdo!hina to loo! after you. 0ntonina
%etrovna is a wonderful wo"an. She didnt refuse.+
)She wont tor"ent "e/+ Misfit as!ed. She re"e"bered what @la"y had told her
about 0vdo!hina.
)I dont thin! she will,+ %apa cal"ed Misfit. ,owever, there was no absolute
confidence in his voice.
,ere the doorbell rang. It was 0vdo!hina. So "uch eagerness was written on her
face that Misfit was even frightened. In 0vdo!hinas hands was a bag with !efir,
cheese, cottage cheese, "ayonnaise, and eggs, which would have been enough to feed a
do;en hungry bodybuilders.
)0 child should be well$fed* So"ehow, yours is painfully s!inny* 7oesnt "atter,
well fix that*+ 0vdo!hina pinched Misfits chee! with dry wiry fingers. Misfit stuc! her
tongue out at 0vdo!hina.
6e$ir is a drin! "ade of fer"ented "il!. It originated in the 2aucasus and is si"ilar to yogurt.
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)(hats this/+ 0vdo!hina got upset.
Ma"a pleadingly too! her daughters hand. )%lease forgive her* Masha isnt used to
you yet, 0ntonina %etrovna* Shes a very obedient little girl and wont cause you any
trouble. (ell try to return as soon as possible. Than! you so "uch for agreeing to stay
with the child.+
Misfit frowned and held Ma"as hand. )7ont call "e a child* I wont call you a
grown$up auntie*+ she said.
Ma"a and %apa got ready in record ti"e. They feared that having seen what an
uncivil daughter they had, 0vdo!hina would change her "ind about staying with her.
)%ro"ise "e youll be obedient*+ %apa as!ed when he and Ma"a were already in
the doorway.
)Ill be obedient to the extre"e*+ Misfit pro"ised with significance. Must ad"it, she
!ept her pro"ise.
The parents had barely sla""ed the door shut when ;ealous 0vdo!hina proceeded
to fulfil the voluntarily accepted obligations of fostering the child. 0vdo!hina was never
"arried and had no children, but she had her own views on what a child could and could
not do. Moreover, 0vdo!hina was indeed bursting with responsibility.
She sat Misfit on a chair, gave her a pac!age of !efir in each hand, and very
definitely ordered, )7ont go to the window, youll tu"ble out* 7ont play with "atches,
youll burn* 7ont drin! out of un!nown vials, youll poison yourself* 7ont dive in the
bathtub, youll drown*+
)'eally, nothing is possible* (hat can I do/+ as!ed Misfit.
)<ou can sit on the chair and drin! !efir*+ said 0vdo!hina.
)0nd I wont cho!e/+ Misfit as!ed in alar".
)If you cho!e, well resuscitate you*+
,aving thus cal"ed Misfit, 0vdo!hina sighed and, with a sense of fulfilling her
duty, set off to the !itchen to sla" the fridge door.
)0y$ay$ay*+ her indignant voice was heard. )%oor you* =o dairy products* 0nd why
so "uch "ustard/ Aven if you shoot "e, Ill still throw out this trash*+
Misfit sighed. She thought that 0vdo!hina would rather shoot everyone. 0fter the
!itchen inspection, 0vdo!hina went around the roo"s and found the" to be untidy.
),ow can a child be raised in such conditions* 2all the"selves parents* 0nd what if
this old TI falls fro" the wardrobe onto the childs head/+
)Its a "onitor. 7ont worry, it al"ost didnt even crash*+ Misfit dis"issed it.
0vdo!hina threw up her hands. )=o, no, and no* (e cant stay in this apart"ent*
<oull live in "y place. Spend at least three days in nor"al conditions* <ou have a
co"pletely anti$pedagogical environ"ent.+
)0 what environ"ent/+ Misfit, who loved to learn new words, as!ed her to repeat.
)0 real "ess*+
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The further this went, the "ore inco"prehensible it beca"e. Misfit did not begin to
as! again, afraid to be even "ore confused.
)It see"s you have a cat. (hat is it/ Muffin/ %uffin/ (here is it/ (e have to bring it
too.+ 0vdo!hina loo!ed under the bed.
Misfit was ta!en abac!. She had "anaged with great difficulty to hide Muffins
absence fro" Mashas parents, and that was than!s to the re"ar!able ability of dragons
to transfor". She did not assu"e that 0vdo!hina would re"e"ber the cat.
)Muffy, %uffy* 3itty$!itty$!itty*+ 0vdo!hina droned on, loo!ing under the bed.
)3itty$!itty* ,ere, Lucy*+
)Shes in the next roo". Ill find her now.+
Misfit -u"ped into the hallway, and a cat ca"e
into the roo" a second later. )Meow* Meow*+
),ere you are* 2o"e here, pet*+ 0vdo!hina
bent down, grabbed the cat, and stuffed it under
her ar". )I caught the ani"al* =ow the child has
left. (here are you, child/+ she called.
The cat started to "eow anxiously and tried
to brea! free. Indeed, Misfit could not be both
Muffin and the girl si"ultaneously. =ot letting go
of the cat, 0vdo!hina went to the roo"s in search
of Masha.
)(here did this girl disappear to/ Too! it into
her head to play hide and see!/ 2hildren were
very different in our ti"e. #bedient, respectful,
responsible*+ she gru"bled.
0vdo!hina recalled her childhood with
pleasure. ,ow she and six of her sisters sat :uietly
on their stools while Ma"a read a coo!boo!
aloud. (hat a ti"e it was* 0vdo!hina blew her
nose nostalgically.
)(here are you, Masha/ <ou didnt fall out
the window, naughty girl/+ 0vdo!hina sur"ised
and ran fearfully to the window.
Misfit reali;ed that she needed to do so"ething urgently. (hile 0vdo!hina was
holding the cat, she would not find any Masha.
)Meow*** Meow***+ The cat howled, scratched the neighbour, and bro!e free.
)0n outrage* Enruly cats* =aughty girls*+ 0vdo!hina threw up her hands. She was
about to rush after the cat, but here the door opened and Misfit entered.
)<ou called/+
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)(here have you been/ Ive been searching all over for you*+ 0vdo!hina pounced on
the girl.
)In the !itchen.+
)Thats not true, I loo!ed in the !itchen. 7ont you dare lie to "e*+
Misfit giggled. )#!ay, I was in the bathroo". I couldnt very well shout fro" there.
That would be unsee"ly.+
0vdo!hina cal"ed down. )&ut wheres the cat/ ,iding/+ she as!ed.
)(ont catch her now. Maybe we should leave her here/+ Misfit suggested, guiltily
"a!ing out the scratches on 0vdo!hinas ar".
)#!ay, pour her so"e "il!. 0ll the sa"e I wouldnt be able to !eep trac! of the two
of you,+ the neighbour said, giving in.
She too! Masha fir"ly by the ar" and pulled her after herself. In 0vdo!hinas one$
roo" apart"ent, everything shone and glistened. =othing hung over the bac!s of chairs.
There was no food on the !itchen tableB the sin! spar!led. Averything bore the "ar! of
scantiness of a lifeti"e. Aach thing was in its place and see"ed to screa", )7ont touch
"e* 7ont s"udge "e*+
Misfit was stunned, afraid to ta!e even a step and disrupt the established petrified
order. Then she recovered herself nevertheless and tried to sit down on the sofa, which
was covered with a red slipcover with goldfish.
)7ont ta!e it into your head* 'e"e"ber*+ 0vdo!hina was startled. )you really cant
sit on a chair/ 2o"e, Id better feed you*+
)I already dran! !efir*+
)That doesnt count*+
In the !itchen, 0vdo!hina put a bib on Misfit and placed in front of her a deep bowl
of crea" soup. 0fter doing this, 0vdo!hina sat down across fro" her, propped her head
with her hands, and started to loo! continuously at the girl. She obviously intended to
wait until Misfit finished eating. )So you !now* <ou dont finish, you dont get up fro"
the table,+ she warned.
)&ut why/+
)&ecause* <ou need to grow*+
)(hat, fro" crea" soup/+ Misfit was surprised. )I never would have thought. Its so
)Aat and dont argue*+ 0vdo!hina said sternly. )'e"e"ber, when I eat, I" deaf and
du"b* <oull have to eat a lot so youll grow up* #therwise, youll loo! disgusting. lean
and green.+
)@ine*+ Misfit said obediently.
She sent a spoonful of soup into her "outh, then another, and... suddenly she began
to grow. 0t first, she grew five centi"etres, then ten, and finally, half a "etre. ,owever,
it was still not the li"it. Misfit grew in front of her eyes and soon filled the !itchen.
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0vdo!hina loo!ed da;edly at the giant, whose head was touching the ceiling and who
was intently eating soup with gusto.
)<ou were right* It see"s Ive grown a little. 2an I have seconds/ Then I can grow to
the si;e of the building*+ Misfit said naively.
,orror was reflected in 0vdo!hinas eyes and she began to slide slowly under the
table. )Its awful. I !new that dairy products are good for children but not to that extent.
0ll this acceleration* #r a" I drea"ing all this/+ she "uttered.
(anting to "a!e sure she was awa!e, 0vdo!hina shoo! her head and dipped her
finger into the boiling !ettle. )#u$ch*+ she yelled and ran into the bathroo" to hold the
finger under cold water.
(hen she returned, the giant had disappeared. 0t the table sat a slender girl with a
doleful loo! stirring a bowl of soup with a spoon.
)It see"s you do;ed off, unfortunate 0ntonina %etrovna* &ringing up children
doesnt co"e easy to you,+ Misfit said sy"pathetically.

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!ha"ter Eleen
E4&T FR#- THE .(B)R&%TH
@ollowing the tre"bling light of a "atch, Masha, @la"y, %oo!ar, and #lga pic!ed
the labyrinth corridors. (avering shadows danced along the wet walls. Swar"ing
fireflies flic!ered di"ly in the crac!s. The floor, laid out in stone slabs, answered
resonantly to every step, even the "ost careful. The travellers had the sensation that
they were wal!ing on ice and that under the" "etres and "etres of an abyss were
dragging on.
=ot "any "atches re"ained in %oo!ars box, and the friends "ade a s"all torch
out of a pencil, which %oo!ar had found in his poc!et.
)Stop* ,eres a hole*+ Muffin exclai"ed suddenly.
%oo!ar illu"inated a large hole in the stone floor. If not for the warning of Muffin,
who could see in the dar!, the friends would have fallen down one by one into this rift,
not even having ti"e to screa".
)#ho$ho* I wonder, is the pit deep/ (ould we have fallen far/+ @la"y as!ed.
)=ow well find out*+ The doll #lga groped for a little stone and dropped it into the
rift. They waited in vain for at least so"e sound.
)(e still "ust be on the other side*+ @la"y said after a pause.
%oo!ar lit another torch in order to see the obstacle better. The rift in the floor was
not too wide. a "etre, no "ore. Masha had -u"ped even further in school for physical
education classes. ,owever, when a botto"less chas" stretched under you, it was
difficult to call the conditions nor"al. &esides, she had to -u"p not in a well$lit hall but
the o"inous dar!ness of a labyrinth.
)Averyone can be a hero. So"e in life and so"e posthu"ously. Id never be a hero
posthu"ously* Should be an interesting sensation,+ %oo!ar encouraged everyone.
)I" certain that Ill fly over to the other side with #lga and %oo!ar. &ut I wont be
able to lift you, Masha. <oure too heavy,+ @la"y said guiltily.
)Ill -u"p over by "yself* 0nyway, Ill try,+ Masha declared, not very confidently.
)Try, try* (ho !nows, "aybe itll wor!. If not on the first atte"pt, then the third,+
%oo!ar reassured her.
)7ont frighten "e, %oo!ar* I" already terrified*+ Masha begged.
)Ill -u"p*+ The cat Muffin, after "eowing, flew over to the other side of the rift.
)0ll right* I" already here*+ ,er voice was heard fro" the dar!ness.
@la"y loo!ed at Masha, encouragingly nudged her nec! with a cold nose, and
placed the doll #lga and %oo!ar on his bac!. Masha saw how the blin!ing dot of light
separated fro" the edge, hung in the air for a second, drew an arc, and went out already
on the other edge of the rift.
)Ill give you so"e light* >u"p to the light*+ %oo!ar shouted, setting fire to a torch.
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Masha too! a running approach and, trying not to thin! about anything terrible,
strongly pushed off fro" the floor. The girl !noc!ed %oo!ar over and scraped her !nee
landing on the other side of the rift. =ow the chas" no longer see"ed terrible to her.
0fter resting, they continued to wander along the "a;e. The torch burned out. They
lit the re"aining "atches only at the for!s of the corridors to deter"ine the correct
path. They had to wal! in the dar! the rest of the ti"e, feeling the da"p walls with their
,owever, one way was still found on how not to get lost in the "a;e. The doll #lga
discovered it. )If %oo!ar says to the right, we have to go left. If he says straight, we need
to turn. If he says forward, we "ust go bac!ward. ,e has never guessed right,+ she said.
)<ou understand nothing, stupid and ungrateful envier*+ he said.
0t the flash of a "atch, a yellow s!ull and bones were illu"inated in a wall opening.
The s!eleton was attached to the ceiling with an iron chain.
)#h, Ma"a*+ Muffin s:uealed. Li!e all cats, she poorly re"e"bered her "a"a and
recalled her only in the "ost extre"e cases.
Masha screwed up her eyes. %oo!ar dropped the "atch and it went out. Averything
was plunged into dar!ness.
)(hat was it/ Lets loo! again*+ @la"y as!ed in fear.
)&etter not,+ #lga begged.
)0nd I thin! so too, dont*+ %oo!ar agreed with her, al"ost for the first ti"e.
0fter a few "ore "inutes of wandering in the dar!ness, light shone in front.
)(e got out*+ #lga re-oiced.
)I wouldnt re-oice yet. 'e"e"ber, were in the Miseries fortress*+ @la"y warned
,owever, the friends were already running to the light. They found the"selves in a
cavern, glittering with thousands of e"eralds and dia"onds. There were so "any of
the" that the walls could not be seen. In the center of the cave, a huge sapphire, on
which burned one single wax candle, spar!led with well$for"ed facets. It was its
"agnified light flooding the cave.
%oo!ars eyes flared up at the sight of so "any valuables and he rushed in to fill his
poc!ets with stones.
)(hich of the" is "ore expensive/ (hat will they give "ore for/+ he as!ed
)(hy do you need so "uch/ (hat are you going to buy/+ Masha wondered.
)0n ocean of -a" and a "ountain of coo!ies* 0nd Ill very well give you, Masha, a
toy electronic watch, if you as! "e nicely,+ %oo!ar declared.
)(hat will you give "e/+ the doll #lga was curious.
%oo!ar stared at her with suspicion. )<#E/* =ada* 7ont desire whats not yours*
<oure not going to ban!rupt "e*+
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Masha and @la"y could not restrain fro" laughing. Indeed, a greedy %oo!ar was
very entertaining.
Enexpectedly the friends heard a loud )#h*+ and turned around in fright. 0t the
corner of the cache, a door, to which they did not pay any attention earlier, opened. 0
beautiful girl with a blond braid to her waist ca"e out of it.
)(hat are you doing here/ Leave now* The
Miseries are about to co"e*+ she cried in alar".
@la"y, on recogni;ing her, ran to the girl.
)0lenush!a* Is that you/ (e were loo!ing for
you*+ ,is scales spar!led li!e precious stones.
0lenush!a hugged hi". )I "issed you,
@la"y* &ut how did you get here/ #r did the
Miseries carry you away too/+
)=o* (e ca"e here to fight the"*+
0lenush!a shoo! her head sadly. )<ou cant
"anage alone. 7ont even thin! about it* The
Miseries are very strong and have "agical
goblets. 'ather, tell "e, hows "y brother
@la"y faltered. Then 0lenush!a loo!ed at
the doll #lga, who had a very responsible loo!.
)%oorly,+ #lga said honestly. )Theres such a
"ess in the cabin that its -ust awful* 0 crow has
settled in the birdhouse, but Ivanush!a plays the
pipe all day.+
0lenush!a beca"e "elancholy. 0 big tear
slid down her chee!. #n the spot where it
dropped, the floor began to s"o!e. The tear had
burned a deep trace in the stone.
%oo!ar -er!ed bac! his leg in alar". )So"e
tear that* I wouldnt want the" sobbing on "e
li!e that*+
)(hat, %oo!ar, you havent heard that tears are the "ain weapon of wo"en/+ the
cat Muffin was surprised.
)#f course I have, but I didnt thin! it was so serious,+ said %oo!ar.
0lenush!a stopped crying and wiped her face thoroughly with her apron. ),ide
:uic!ly, !ids* If the Miseries scent you, not even bones will be left*+
)(hy didnt they eat you/+ %oo!ar as!ed with suspicion.
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0lenush!a herself clearly did not !now the reason. )I coo! for the" and I help their
illiterate daughter with the 'ussian language,+ she said.
)So, you wor! in the ene"ys ar"y/ =ot good* The fatherland doesnt forgive such
people*+ %oo!ar wagged a finger at her.
)&e :uiet, %oo!ar* ,ows the cat Meown/ Scholarch!in/+ Muffin as!ed with
)They also havent been eaten yet. The Miseries want to force Meown to tell stories,
but he wont agree. 0nd Scholarch!in is so s"all that you cant even "a!e broth out of
%oo!ar had finished stuffing his poc!ets with precious stones. ,e could barely stand
because of their weight.
)(hat do the Miseries loo! li!e/+ he as!ed 0lenush!a.
)7isgusting* ,uge, gross. Aspecially beware of their eyes* They possess "agical
powers. =ever yield to the te"ptation to loo! the Miseries in the eye* <oull lose your
will right away. Aven bears fro" Tal!ing @orest, spellbound by the red eyes of the
Miseries, went li!e obedient sheep right into the boiling cauldron.+
Muffin sat down on her hind legs in surprise. )They have red eyes/ ,eres horror* 0
blue$eyed brunet is beautiful, grey$eyed is still o!ay, but red$eyed... Egh*+
)(hy do you thin! theyre brunets/ Maybe theyre blonds/+ the doll #lga as!ed.
)&londs/ Egh*+ Muffin said. )Egh, and again ugh*+
)(e had hoped that the Miseries are "ortally afraid of light... &ut heres this
candle*+ Masha said.
0lenush!a s"iled -oylessly. )<es, the Miseries are afraid of the living sunlight. &ut
they withstand -ust fine the spar!le of e"eralds fro" a single candle,+ she said.
)&ut how can we overco"e the Miseries/ They "ust have so"e susceptibilities/+
@la"y began to fret.
0lenush!a did not "anage to answer as all the dia"onds and e"eralds in the cache
started flaring a blood$red light.
)The Miseries are co"ing* ,ide* Maybe they wont scent you*+ 0lenush!a hastily
led the friends to the pantry beyond the cache and told the" to loc! it fro" the inside.
The stones again flared up blood red. The Miseries entered the cache. Masha loo!ed
through a crac! and shuddered. There were three Miseries. Misery, Missus Misery, and
their daughter ? giants with curved fangs sharp as !nives and with long claws, shaggy on
the bac! but with bare bellies. In co"parison, a night"are would see" li!e a daydrea".
Misery "oved his nose and his red eyes lit up. )Tch$tch* It s"ells of 'ussian* (as
so"eone here/+ he as!ed 0lenush!a suspiciously.
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©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
0lenush!a tre"bled. The Miseries daughter saved her by bursting out laughing.
)<ou, %apa, read too "any fairy tales. They always say there, HTch$tch* It s"ells of
'ussian* (as so"eone here/ It stin!s of 0len!a, 0len!a*+
)(hy do you attac! %apa/ Indeed, he cant even scare others* <ou cut hi" down in
everything* ,es Misery and he frightens,+ Missus Misery said, falling on their daughter.
The "onsters pulled a wooden table and chairs fro" so"ewhere. They obviously
did not overload the"selves with unnecessary furniture.
)0len!a, dinner* Muic!ly* If we dont li!e your coo!ing, you beco"e dinner yourself*
,e$he$he*+ Misery de"anded.
0lenush!a brought dinner in. It was a whole wild boar roasted on a spit. She could
barely carry it. =one of the Miseries even lifted a finger to help. They only hurried her.
Masha and @la"y relieved each other at the crac!. They saw how, after downing half
a wild boar, Misery pic!ed at his fangs with a tablespoon as a toothpic!, leaned bac! on
the chair, and began to snore.
,owever, he did not succeed in falling asleep because his daughter punched his ear
with a fist. )0 fairy tale/ <ou pro"ised "e a fairy tale after dinner* I want a fai$ry$
Misery wo!e up, shoo! his head, du"bfounded, and snorted again. The indignant
daughter intended on dealing hi" a blow with an unfinished boar leg, but Missus
Misery caught her hand in ti"e. )Stop being so violent* 7ont you see that %apas tired/*
Ill give you a cuff on the bac! of the head*+
),e isnt tired* I" tired,+ the daughter said, upset. )7o you thin! it was easy to drag
along that disgusting cat/ ,e was scratching all the way, and now hes offended and
doesnt want to tell fairy tales. Ill go cut off his tail*+
0lenush!a approached with tear$stained eyes and placed on the table a buc!et of
The Miseries attac!ed the dessert. 0fter the boar, they had a terrible thirst.
Misery wo!e up and downright snuffled with en-oy"ent, filling up on !issel.
%oo!ar was even drooling. The "agic tablecloth had been feeding hi" nothing but
!vass for two days already, but here was !issel* Aven apple* ,is favourite* ,e
ru""aged in his !napsac!, which &aba$<aga had put together for the trip, and pulled
out the cap of invisibility. Snap* ,e pulled it over his eyes and instantly disappeared.
)Stop, %oo!ar* 7ont do it*+ Masha whispered belatedly.
The cap of invisibility see"ed too big for %oo!ar. It i""ediately slid down to his
nose and he had to "ove by touch. &u"ping into walls, he -u"ped out of the pantry.
Masha and @la"y only "anaged to shut the door behind hi".
),ow "uch herois" and all for what/ @or !issel* Its so li!e %oo!ar*+ the doll #lga
6issel is an Aastern Auropean dessert "ade of thic!ened and sweetened fruit puree of a soft custard
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%oo!ar ran around the cache. The Miseries watched uneasily as the e"eralds
flashed, alerting the". Misery half rose, too! a few steps, and sprawled on the floor as if
he had caught on so"ething.
The half$e"pty buc!et of !issel tilted. They noticed that !issel was pouring out, but
not a drop was spilled on the table. 0 "iracle, indeed*
)Theres so"ebody here* I stu"bled over so"eone*+ Misery roared.
Missus Misery and her daughter, recovering fro" fear, grabbed the tablecloth and
pulled it at the sa"e ti"e, hoping to catch the invisible one.

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!ha"ter T*ele
,R&%!E ,&R#0HEVS2&&6 -&SF&T6 (%D (VD#2H&%(
The "orning of the day 0vdo!hina undertoo! to loo! after Misfit, %iro;h!ov
returned fro" an extended "eeting of the Society of 2oncerned 'esidents, or S2',
which he hi"self also founded. Than!s to %iro;h!ov, all the benches near the building
were repainted in a pale orange colour and nu"bered in Latin nu"erals fro" I to P. #n
top of that, the tidy inscription For the elderly and women with children stood out on
so"e benches.
&efore su""oning the elevator, %iro;h!ov opened his "ailbox out of habit, and a
strange envelope i"printed with a coat of ar"s in the for" of a gold crown fell
unexpectedly fro" the newspaper. %iro;h!ov even sat down exa"ining it with curiosity.
(ishing to prolong the pleasure, he did not i""ediately brea! the seal on the letter but
went up to his apart"ent, put on his slippers, washed his hands with soap and water,
put on the !ettle, and only after that occupied hi"self with the envelope. It was "ade of
a dense grey paper, oblong, with a sta"p, on which Tsar =icholas I loo!ed "a-estic. #n
the reverse side was the seal of a double$headed eagle.
),oly$"oly, roly$poly*+ %iro;h!ov whispered and carefully slit open the envelope
with a !nife. In the envelope lay a thic! sheet of expensive paper.
(3INCE (I3/7&E8S6II
%EA3 SI3,
IN C/NNECTI/N -IT& T&E %IS+ANT4IN# /F T&E /4% A3C&I8ES, 9/0
(3INCES (I3/7&E8S6II. -E &0+.49 AS6 9/0 T/ .E A (A3T9 /F T&E
#AT&E3IN# /F T&E N/.I4IT9 T/ .E &E4% IN /03 %IST3ICT 4I.3A39 /N
:0NE ;<
C/N#3AT04ATI/NS A#AIN, 9/03 E=CE44ENC9)
Noble greetings,
Count Sidorchukskii.
%iro;h!ov re$read the letter three ti"es. 0t first, the thought flic!ered in hi" that it
was a practical -o!e, but then he started to have ha;y recollections of so"e things. ,e
re"e"bered, for exa"ple, that in the cupboard he had an old spoon with a coat of ar"s.
0nd that his grand"other so"eti"es loved to insert a @rench phrase pric!ly as a three$
day stubble, when he, %iro;h!ov, while still a child, rattled off pioneer "arches sitting
on a chair. ,e also re"e"bered grandfather the colonel with an unnaturally straight
posture and a grey "oustache. ,""...yes, now you will reflect willy$nilly*
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%iro;h!ov beca"e uneasy and ran around the apart"ent. 0fter a prolonged search,
at the botto" of grand"others old suitcase, he found a couple of photos of long ago
i""e"orial and a yellowed letter to %rincess Mathilda %iro;hevs!aia.
%iro;h!ov wal!ed around all day as if lost, holding his head in his hands. ,e
gradually got used to the thought of his nobility, and his bent bac! of a petty officer
straightened into an excla"ation "ar!.
It cost Misfit no special difficulty to convince 0vdo!hina that she had si"ply drea"t
this fast$growing girl. 0vdo!hina was so intent on believing that she placed a cold
co"press on her own forehead.
)#h$oh$oh*+ she sighed. )So "uch trouble with children* I wont do it again for any
"oney* Its easier to wor! in the stations cafeteria than loo! after a one and only child.+
Misfit was bustling about near 0vdo!hina, holding a basin of water for cold
co"presses. The doorbell rang unexpectedly. 2ontinuing to la"ent, 0vdo!hina trudged
to open it. Suddenly the ohs changed into ahs. )#h$oh$oh* 0h$ah$ah*+
Misfit beca"e curious. She darted out into the hallway and peered out fro" behind
0vdo!hinas s!irt. She saw %iro;h!ov in the doorway. The neighbour was in a blac!
-ac!et and a white pea!ed cap. #n the sleeve of his -ac!et was a red 8oluntary /$$icer
ar"band. ,e held in his hands a bou:uet of artificial carnations, which he thrust
gallantly at 0vdo!hina. To crown it all, %iro;h!ov gave off the heady s"ell of Troi!a
0n e"barrassed 0vdo!hina sniffed the carnations and said, )I$v$very nice. Than!
you. Ill put the" in water*+
%iro;h!ov clic!ed his indoor slippers, bowed, and said with a slight burr, )%lease
allow "e to present "yself* My ,onour %rince %iro;hevs!ii*+
0vdo!hina pressed her wet hand!erchief to her forehead. ,ere is how the day is
turning out* @irst, girls grow by leaps and bounds, and then the neighbour on the
landing turns out to be a prince. =ot boring* ,owever, "ust give 0vdo!hina credit, she
ad-usted :uic!ly.
)%rince %iro;hevs!ii/ (hats this. H%in! elephants. %art two/+ Misfit as!ed, pushing
forward. %iro;h!ov did not favour Misfit with an answer and only uttered so"ething in
the "iddle between )ugh+ and )pah.+
)If youre a prince, wheres your carriage/ 0 carriage for the prince is the sa"e as
the docu"ents,+ a persistent Misfit continued.
The for"er %iro;h!ov would have started to swear and sto"p his feet, but the
current %iro;hevs!ii only !nitted his brow haughtily and uttered elegantly, )<ou havent
yet grown to adult conversation, child* Fo get so"e fresh air*+
%iro;h!ov bent an ar" and offered it to 0vdo!hina, )(ont you treat "e to tea,
lovely 0ntonina %etrovna/+
)2ertainly, char"ing friend*+ 0vdo!hina answered hi" in the sa"e tone.
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0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov too! so"e ti"e getting into the !itchen. 0 wonder$struc!
Misfit followed behind the", but no such luc!.
)There are old "aga;ines in the roo" there. Fo loo! at the pictures*+ 0vdo!hina
said and gently closed the door in Misfits face.
Misfit leaped onto the couch and tuc!ed her legs under her. )=ot for any
gingerbread will I play with the" any"ore*+
Misfit sat on the couch, bored, for ten "inutes, but then she suddenly bea"ed. She
cautiously loo!ed out into the hallway and then -u"ped to the window and opened it
%iro;h!ov at this ti"e was sitting in the !itchen with 0vdo!hina and drin!ing tea,
holding the cup in a hand with the pin!ie stic!ing out.
)0nd then it dawned on "e* %rince %iro;hevs!ii is "e* 0nd "y grand"a was a
princess, and great$grand"other, and great$great$grandfather ? they were all solid
princes,+ he said.
0vdo!hina nodded and poured "ore tea for her neighbour.
)Indeed, it is aw!ward so"ehow...+ %iro;h!ov felt self$conscious. )%lease, four
sugars for "e and chocolate candy, if you dont "ind, of course.+
)#f course not* @or such a person*+ 0vdo!hina ingratiatingly assured hi".
0t that "o"ent, the !itchen suddenly dar!ened. 0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov loo!ed
at the window at once and were du"bfounded. 0 carriage with a noble e"ble" on the
gilded door was dangling in the air, level with the eighth floor.
)2arriage for ,is Lordship %rince %iro;hevs!ii*+ a sonorous voice rang out.
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)I didnt order thi$this* <ou ta!e thi$this away* (e wont allow thi$this* Shouldnt
"a!e fun of us*+ %iro;h!ov shouted in a raspy tenor, pointing a finger at the carriage.
)0s you co""and, %rince*+ The door sla""ed shut. The wheels turned, and the
carriage sped away as speedily as it had appeared.
0fter the carriage had disappeared, 0vdo!hina discovered that she was sitting on
%iro;h!ovs lap and pouring out the teapot behind his collar. %iro;h!ov tugged at the
8oluntary /$$icer ar"band and was repeating endlessly, )'ain, rain, pour, pour, pour*+
%iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina did not see Misfit gently close the window after herself in
the next roo".
0vdo!hina hopped off %iro;h!ovs lap and began wiping her neighbour with a
!itchen towel. %iro;h!ov, full of suffering, blin!ed his long, curved lashes Ji"agine, he
had beautiful eyelashes*K and loo!ed at 0vdo!hina with gratitude. Then he uttered the
phrase, which afterwards see"ed terribly intelligent and significant to his neighbour,
na"ely, )Averything isnt accidental* Averything isnt even by chance* 0nd all for the
)(heres the girl/ She "ust be terribly scared*+ 0vdo!hina was suddenly alar"ed.
%iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina ran into the next roo" and discovered that Misfit was
sitting on the couch and peacefully leafing through a "aga;ine.
)<ou didnt see anything...uh...unusual/ 0 carriage hanging outside the window/+
%iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina as!ed her.
Misfit loo!ed up. )0 carriage/ Is it li!e pin! elephants or fast$growing girls/+ she
%iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina were e"barrassed.
)>ust dont tell anyone about this, !id* =either %apa nor Ma"a, no one. (ere -ust
two elderly people having a cup of tea. Isnt that the truth, 0ntonina %etrovna/+ said
)Alderly people/ &etter spea! for yourself, %eter %etrovich* Id say. one "ature "an
and one youthful, good$loo!ing lady*+ 0vdo!hina, having heard only this fro"
%iro;h!ovs whole speech, repeated with offence in her voice.
)So do you agree, Masha/ <ou wont tell anyone/+ %iro;h!ov persistently repeated.
Misfit s:uinted. )(ell* I wont tell anyone. =ot a word, not half a word...but only if
you ta!e "e to the cafe and buy "e ice crea"*+
7uring her strolls around Moscow, Misfit "anaged to ta!e to ice crea", no less
than, say, "ustard or peppers.
%iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina sighed and agreed. There was nothing to be done. If a
little girl wants so"ething, she will always find the infallible "eans to "a!e you want
the sa"e.
In half an hour Misfit was already wal!ing between %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina,
tenaciously holding their hands so that they would not run away. @ro" ti"e to ti"e
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Misfit tuc!ed in her legs, hung by the hands of %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina, and those two
suddenly faced each other.
)&ang* <ou arent hurt/+ Misfit as!ed.
0vdo!hina wore her best dress, woollen with a turndown collar, and hoped very
"uch that %iro;h!ov appreciated it. The for"er %iro;h!ov would not have noticed it,
but gallant %rince %iro;hevs!ii too! the opportunity to pay a co"pli"ent. )(hat a
dress, 0ntonina %etrovna* I would never have guessed that its old if a "oth had not
eaten through the collar.+
0vdo!hina "u"bled so"ething unintelligible and for no special reason pulled
Misfits hand. )7ont be naughty*+
They were very close to the cafe when Misfit saw two wor!ers sawing a poplar.
)(hat are they doing/ If the trees you have here are silent, it doesnt "ean that it isnt
painful for the"*+ she yelled.
)Theyre sawing, it "eans, they should,+ %iro;h!ov answered reasonably and
wanted to "ove on.
)(ho should/ It has to be the ulti"ate idiot who ta!es up ar"s against trees*
Theyre absolutely defenceless* #rder the" to stop, youre a prince*+
%iro;h!ov felt asha"ed. Aspecially as 0vdo!hina was also standing nearby. The
blood of the %rince and public person boiled. ,e wal!ed up to the wor!ers and said,
)7ont saw the tree, guys* It is aw!ward so"ehow. The city should be planting trees and
gardens, not uprooting vegetation.+
The wor!ers loo!ed as!ance at %iro;h!ov, spat, and continued to tor"ent the
0 displeased Misfit ran up with dishevelled hair. ),ey, you there* Stop this instant*
,ow dare you disobey %rince %iro;hevs!ii/ Leave the tree alone, or itll stand up for
),ow will it stand up for itself/ It has no ar"s and legs*+ one of the wor!ers said
through his nose.
)Miserable cowards* It appears you are sawing the tree only because it has no ar"s
and legs* So, ta!e that* +
Misfit whispered a spell. )#ne has to be a fool to live in @airyland and not learn how
to con-ure,+ Frandpa Forynych so"eti"es used to say. Misfit, indeed, was no fool.
The sawn tree branches ca"e off the ground and began to "ove "enacingly up to
the wor!ers.
),elp* ,elp*+ the wor!ers yelled and rushed to escape, forgetting about axes and
)#h, a new glitch* The sun isnt too hot for you, 0ntonina %etrovna/+ %iro;h!ov said
)=o, and you/+
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)I" :uite well indeed,+ %iro;h!ov assured her.
The cafe was called Morsel and, fran!ly, rese"bled "ore a li:uor store. Misfit,
0vdo!hina, and %iro;h!ov got there right after lunchti"e. There were already no other
custo"ers, only the cleaning lady wiping the clean tables with a dirty rag. Misfit ran up
to the counter and pulled a "enu to herself. %rince %iro;hevs!ii sighed, glanced as!ance
at 0vdo!hina, and too! out his wallet.
)Ta!e this* @ifteen servings of chocolate ice crea" with syrup, twelve vanilla, and
seven ice$crea" bars. 0nd for "y co"panions, a buc!et of coffee,+ Misfit ordered. She
was not used to wasting ti"e on trifles.
The girl at the counter got up on tiptoes and loo!ed over the counter in a"a;e"ent,
probably waiting to see about twenty preschool children there, but discovered no one
and was slightly disappointed.
)(ait*+ %iro;h!ov "oved Misfit aside. )The girl got it wrong. %lease, fifty gra"s of
the cheapest ice crea" for us and coffee without sugar for the lady. I dont need
anything. I already dined at ho"e.+
Misfit, 0vdo!hina, and the server stared at %iro;h!ov at once. ,e blushed,
re"e"bered that he was a prince, gathered the re"ains of his nobility, and said, )@ine...
So be it, you can put sugar in the coffee*+
Misfit folded her ar"s in front of her chest and, having given %iro;h!ov a shove
with her shoulder, as!ed the girl at the counter, )May I as! a :uestion/ ,ave you ever
"et pin! elephants/ 0nd did carriages dangle outside your windows/+
%iro;h!ov was covered with sweat. ,owever, his face suddenly beca"e sly. )<ouve
convinced "e. Ill buy you as "uch ice crea" as you can eat, but not "ore,+ he said.
%iro;h!ov was hoping that one or two servings would be enough. 'eally, how "uch ice
crea" can an eight$year$old girl eat/
)0greed*+ Misfit nodded.
She too! a scoop of @rench vanilla in a waffle cone, slowly brought it to her "outh,
and lic!ed it listlessly several ti"es. %iro;h!ov s"iled. I should thin! so* She has not
even "anaged one and ordered twenty* ,owever, then the %rinces face suddenly fell.
The ice crea" in Misfits hands literally "elted away before his eyes. In a "inute, only
the waffle cone was left. 0 "o"ent later, it was also gone.
)=ot bad... 0nd now strawberry,+ de"anded Misfit. 0fter the strawberry, Misfit
lic!ed her lips in anticipation. )I want it in orange*+
)(ont you catch a cold/+ %iro;h!ov as!ed gingerly.
)0fter two servings/ 0re you -o!ing, %rince/+ Misfit laughed.
0fter the fifth serving, a pale %iro;h!ov waved his hand. )If youre going to binge,
then binge*+ The princely blood boiled and %iro;h!ov bought a bottle of pop.
In the next hour, Misfit ate twenty servings of ice crea" and dran! four litres of
pop. 0vdo!hina loo!ed at her with tenderness and repeated, )(hat a good appetite the
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girl has* 'e"e"ber, we in our youth dran! "il! by half a buc!et in the store. Then the
"il! was even overflowing.+
@inally, Misfit was full. )<ou arent hopeless* Theres definitely so"ething princely
in you,+ she co"pli"ented %iro;h!ov.
0fter paying, they went out of the cafe. The cheerful setting sun flooded the city.
Sparrows were congregating in a s"all shrub near the road. Sweet evening sadness
touched the heart.
Misfit hung on the hands of %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina. )(hat fun you are after all*
(ant to be "y grandpa and grand"a/ I" "a!ing you a for"al offer*+ Seeing the
expression on the faces of 0vdo!hina and %iro;h!ov, Misfit burst out laughing. )(ell, so
be it* <ou can thin! till to"orrow* I wont rush*+ she said.

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!ha"ter Thirteen
( S$..E% F(-&.)
(hen the Miseries tossed up the tablecloth with %oo!ar on it, Masha screa"ed,
barely "anaging to cover her "outh. She !new that a soft %oo!ar would not get hurt but
would surely lose the cap of invisibility. If this happened, the Miseries would catch
%oo!ar and gut all the wool out of hi".
She was not "ista!en. The cap of invisibility in fact ca"e off %oo!ars head when
he, tu"bling, flew up to the ceiling. The cap fell to the floor, but %oo!ar had vanished
into thin air. The Miseries went through the entire cache in search of the uninvited
guest. They loo!ed under the table and the chairs, in pots, and even in teacups.
,owever, they found nothing.
Suddenly their daughter noticed a "angy fur hat on the floor. )Loo! what I found,
Ma"a*+ she said, surprised, and instantly pulled the hat on her cauldron$shaped head.
The daughter barely "anaged to do this when she i""ediately disappeared.
)(here are you, little fool/ (here have you gone/+ The Miseries were scared.
),ere I a"* 2ool cap, huh/+ their daughter yelled happily, appearing in the opposite
end of the cave.
Misery rushed to his daughter. ,e wanted to try on the "iracle$cap hi"self. )Five
%apa the cap* 7ont you dare touch it*+
,owever, before Misery ran up to his daughter, she "anaged to pull the cap of
invisibility over her eyes and dissolved into the air. Miserys hands closed on an e"pty
place. ,e howled in rage.
)0ha*+ his invisible daughter shouted, running around the cave. )(hat a wonderful
cap* =ow I wont ta!e it off "y whole life* =obody will force "e to study spells and go to
bed early, drin! this nasty !issel, and obey you* Ill harass everyone in a row, and pull off
the cat Meowns tail, and it wont even !now who did it* <es, and Ill give it to you good*+
The Miseries chased after their daughter, but to catch the invisible in the spacious
cache was difficult. Their daughter only frolic!ed and tripped the beloved parents. (hen
she tired of rushing around the cache, she ran out and sped through the "a;e, which she
!new li!e her own five fingers. The adult Miseries ran by guesswor! after her, cursing on
the way. They wanted to catch their daughter and give her an educational punch, but the
cap of invisibility deprived the" of this.
Masha, @la"y, the cat Muffin, and #lga ca"e out of the s"all pantry.
)(hat did I tell you/ Theyre :uite a fa"ily. =o love, no respect... Theyre still not
bad a"ong the"selves. 7og doesnt eat dog. &ut with others, theyre real ani"als*+
0lenush!a said.
)&ut wheres %oo!ar/ (here has he disappeared to/+ Masha as!ed with alar".
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),e wont go anywhere* ,es
li!e a bur ? you want to sha!e hi"
off, but you cant,+ the doll #lga
)<ou love "e so* I didnt expect
such spite fro" you*+ 0 thin little
voice was heard fro" so"ewhere
Masha raised her head and burst
out laughing. #n the ceiling, his
waistband caught on a ledge, %oo!ar
was hanging and dangling his
chubby legs in the air. ,e was
awfully luc!y. Instead of tu"bling
onto the floor and being torn to
pieces by the Miseries, he was
hanging under the ceiling in
co"plete safety the entire ti"e they
were searching for hi".
)>u"p, %oo!ar* (ell catch you*+ Masha shouted.
)I would -u"p, but "y pants wont let "e*+ %oo!ar began to sing,
)7illy$dang, 7illy$dang,
Ender the ceiling we hang,
7ont want to go down with a bang*+
Suddenly %oo!ars pants started to rip and he fell into 0lenush!as ar"s.
)<ou dont say* <ou didnt drop "e* I didnt expect it*+ he said, surprised.
0lenush!a began to hurry the". )(e "ust free the cat Meown and Scholarch!in
before the Miseries return* Ill show you where theyre !ept*+
She led Masha and @la"y to a huge precious stone in the centre of the cache. )(e
need to "ove this bloc!* The entrance to the dungeon is under it*+
Masha, @la"y, 0lenush!a, and #lga leaned on the stone with all their strength but
could not even budge it a little bit.
)%oo!ar, dont you want to help us/+ the doll #lga spo!e hoarsely, red fro" the
)I would, but I cant* The elastic in "y pants bro!e,+ %oo!ar explained.
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)I re"e"ber*+ 0lenush!a exclai"ed. )(hy didnt I guess it sooner* Theres a secret
"echanis" to "a!e the stone "ove. The Miseries loc!ed "e in the pantry so that I
wouldnt see where it is.+
Masha, 0lenush!a, and the doll #lga began to feel the facets of the dia"ond in
search of the secret loc!. They touched each pro-ection on the glea"ing surface of the
stone. =evertheless, everything was in vain. The stone did not even thin! of going
through the "otions.
)'eally we cant thin! of anything/ They are here, so closeB we -ust have to open this
disgusting loc!*+ The doll #lga al"ost burst into tears.
(hile the others were pondering what to do, %oo!ar tied up his pants with a rope
and began to pic! an e"erald in the shape of a "aple leaf off the wall. ,e accidentally
set the secret "echanis" in action. The stone i""ediately "oved aside, revealing the
passage to the dungeon.
)(ell, what did I tell you*+ %oo!ar enthused. )(hat would you do without "e/ 0
"inute of searching and I found what you were loo!ing for in a whole hour*+
The cat Meown and the gno"e Scholarch!in -u"ped out of the dungeon. They had
been hearing voices for a long ti"e and could not wait to be released. Scholarch!in
rushed to his friends and hugged the" tightly. )I !new that youd save "e* I believed, I
hoped* ,ow I love you*+
Masha, @la"y, and the doll #lga were deeply "oved. %oo!ar patted Scholarch!in on
the shoulder. )(e "issed you too, Scholarch!in*+
The cat Meown, having been out of the light for so long, was blinded by the glitter of
the precious stones. ,e did not see Muffin i""ediately because she, feeling shy, went
off to a corner of the cache and pretended to exa"ine the design on the floor.
),el$lo* 7id you open the loc!/+ Meown rubbed against 0lenush!as !nees.
)Say than! you to her, la;y* She saved you*+ 0lenush!a pushed Meown to Muffin.
The cat arched his bac! and purred, )Th$an! you, dearest Muffin* I" very grateful to
you* ,ow youve grown prettier since our last "eeting* <our fur is softer and your eyes
spar!le. ,as this herois" gla"ori;ed you/+
)Muffin didnt tre"ble in the spring in vain*+ Masha thought.
Muffin shyly covered her bea"ing face with the tip of her fluffy tail.
)Muiet* 7o you hear/+ 0lenush!a whispered suddenly.
The echo of heavy footsteps resounded along the corridors of the labyrinth. The
Miseries were returning. %oo!ar did not lose his head, and, pressing on the e"erald in
the shape of a "aple leaf, returned the stone bac! in its place. =ow it would ta!e so"e
ti"e before the Miseries realised that the prisoners had escaped and set off on a chase.
The Miseries footsteps got louder and louder. 0lenush!a hurriedly opened a door in the
corner of the cache. )In here*+
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0s soon as they slipped into the opened recess, the Miseries flew into the cache.
They caught their disobedient daughter and were now span!ing her so loudly that it was
possible to decide that they were beating out a carpet so"ewhere close by.

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!ha"ter Fourteen
THE ,$RS$&T6 THE ,$RS$&T...
The Miseries span!ed their daughter and began to call 0lenush!a to prepare soft
feather beds for the". They usually slept during the day and raided @airyland at night.
),ey, 0len!a* Fet a "ove on* #r are you bored of living/+
,owever, no "atter how the Miseries yelled, 0lenush!a did not appear. The
"onsters got suspicious. They loo!ed into the dungeon and discovered that it was
e"pty. 'eali;ing that Meown, Scholarch!in, and 0lenush!a had vanished, the Miseries
issued a howl of rage. The cave walls tre"bled and "ighty echoes rang their roar
through the "a;e.
)0len!a couldnt have gone far* (ell sei;e her and tear her to pieces*+
)I" scared*+ Masha whispered when the echo of the Miseries howl reached her.
)'un* >ust !eep :uiet and run*+ 0lenush!a s:uee;ed Mashas hand.
7espite their outward sluggishness, the Miseries galloped with huge clu"sy leaps.
In the dus!y corridor, their eyes were glowing li!e e"bers.
@la"y, the fastest and "ost ni"ble of all, was running last, urging on the others.
Masha was holding %oo!ar and #lga in her ar"s. In front, showing the way, 0lenush!a
was hurrying, with Scholarch!in, Muffin, and Meown following her. Soon the fugitives
already heard the inter"ittent breathing of the Miseries behind their bac!s.
)Turn bac!* Turn around and loo! us in the eye* (e wont do anything bad to you*+
The Miseries voices sounded unexpectedly affectionate. Masha even wanted to believe
the", to stop and rest, and to end this exhausting race. &ut she understood that it was
not possible to do so.
,anging fro" Mashas ar", %oo!ar coolly ru""aged in his poc!ets, wondering
whether to throw away so"ething unnecessary and heavy. %oo!ar hi"self seriously did
not re"e"ber what he had in his poc!ets. 0 spring fro" a watch, a spool, a pen!nife, a
teaspoon, e"eralds fro" the cache, tiny billiard balls, cap guns... &illiard balls* ,e had a
great idea.
%oo!ar grabbed a handful of tiny balls and shouted to @la"y running behind
Masha, )(hen I count to three, you -u"p up* Enderstand/ >u"p*+ @la"y did not have
ti"e to find out what %oo!ar was planning and he -ust nodded. ,e hoped that %oo!ar
had co"e up with so"e worthwhile idea.
)I" counting. one, three*+ %oo!ar and "athe"atics were not in accord and he
inadvertently left out the nu"ber two. 0 surprised @la"y wor!ed his wings and too! off
fro" the floor. In the sa"e second %oo!ar dropped the handful of billiard balls.
Misery had already stretched out his huge hairy paws to grab @la"y, but he stepped
on the billiard balls... 0$a$a$ah*** ,e ran into the wall and rolled across the floor. Missus
Misery bu"ped into hi". 0 tangle of floundering "onsters rolled along the flagstones of
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the secret passage. =ot understanding in the dar!, the Miseries bit and scratched each
other, and so"e ti"e passed before they reali;ed that those they were chasing had
slipped away.
)I did a good -ob* #nly, pity about the billiard balls. They were nice balls, iron...+
%oo!ar praised hi"self when the friends stopped for a "o"ent to catch their breath.
Masha grabbed %oo!ar and !issed hi" on the ear.
)(hat have you done/ <ou stunned "e* Is it really not possible to "anage without
sloppy senti"entality/+ %oo!ar was indignant.
,owever, here the sto"ping of the Miseries reached the fugitives. The "onsters
were catching up again. Suddenly, the corridor for!ed. The friends saw a narrow
hatchway in one of the walls. Scholarch!in too! 0lenush!as hand!erchief and threw it
near the hatchway. It only re"ained to hope that the Miseries fell for this si"ple tric!.
The friends stealthily went a little further along the "ain corridor and hid behind
the turn. Their lives depended on the success of Scholarch!ins plan. It see"ed to Masha
that her heart was bursting out of her chest and was beating so loudly that the Miseries
could hear it.
The ru"ble of footsteps swelled. The "onsters rushed, advancing blac! paws with
sharp claws. To grab* To brea!* Enexpectedly, the sto"ping stopped abruptly
so"ewhere very close. >ust one -u"p separated the Miseries fro" the fugitives pressed
hard against the cold roc!.
)Loo!* 0len!as han!y* =o way out fro" there* Theyre trapped*+
Masha heard the terrible roar very close by. If the Miseries too! so"e "ore steps
along the "ain corridor, then all would be lost* ,owever, fortunately, it did not happen.
The tric! was a success. Froaning, the Miseries cli"bed into the narrow passage.
)2o"e out yourself, 0len!a* It wont be worse, of course, but co"e out all the
sa"e*+ they hissed.
0 little later Misery got stuc! in the narrow passage and, li!e a cor!, plugged up the
others. It too! the "onsters a long ti"e to brea! free. The hatchway, into which they
had crawled, ended in a dead end. (hen the Miseries reali;ed that they had been
deceived, such a terrible howl reached out fro" the depths of the cave that it al"ost
caused a cave$in.
)0lenush!a, re"e"ber you were saying that you !now how to defeat the Miseries/+
Masha as!ed.
)I didnt say that I !now how to defeat the". I only said that the Miseries have
vulnerability,+ 0lenush!a corrected her.
)(hat is it/ Tell us*+ %oo!ar rushed her.
The travellers wal!ed :uic!ly along the widening corridor. Light filtered through
fro" so"ewhere above and the dar! passageway did not see" so blea!. 0lthough,
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certainly neither Masha, @la"y, 0lenush!a, nor even the frivolous %oo!ar forgot for a
"o"ent that they would soon have to clash with the Miseries.
)#nce, on &uyan lived the "ighty hero Sviato;ar guarding @airyland and its
inhabitants...+ 0lenush!a began to tell the".
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!ha"ter Fifteen
THE !(VE #F /#%DR#$S -&RR#RS
)Sviato;ar was a !ind and patient hero. #nce, a bird built a nest in his hair, ta!ing it
for a full$grown bush. Sviato;ar stayed in place for a "onth until the chic!s hatched,+
0lenush!a continued.
)Typical publicity stunt. The bird was a du""y and the chic!s were probably
inflatable*+ %oo!ar stated.
)&e :uiet, %oo!ar*+ #lga silenced hi".
)(as he strong, this Sviato;ar/ Stronger than the Miseries/+ The gno"e
Scholarch!in felt around for his leather$covered noteboo!, his gift fro" &aba$<aga.
)Iery strong. 0 stronger hero couldnt be found in the world. Sviato;ar, with one
hand, pulled out the largest oa! tree in Tal!ing @orest by the roots. ,e could pulveri;e a
huge boulder into powder with his fingers.+
)Then why didnt he banish the "onsters/+ the doll #lga as!ed.
0lenush!a sighed. )Sviato;ars asleep. The Miseries fed hi" a "agic potion and
i"prisoned hi" in an underground cavern. It doesnt "atter how "ighty the hero was,
his wea! point was found.+
)(hat wea! point/+ Masha opened her eyes wide.
0lenush!a loo!ed down and said nothing.
)Sviato;ar loved to drin! excessively. ,e dran! everything that his hand chanced
upon,+ the cat Meown "uttered.
0lenush!a blushed fro" sha"e for the hero. )<es, its true. (hen the Miseries
appeared in @airyland, they were behaving :uietly at first and didnt even appear before
anyones eyes. they spied out and sniffed out everything, what and how. The Miseries
saw that they couldnt ta!e Sviato;ar by force and decided on guile. They "ixed a
sleeping potion with intoxicating wine and left a barrel of it right in the "iddle of the
forest. Sviato;ar dran! it up...+
)(hat/ 7idnt he !now that you never drin! fro" un!nown barrels/+ The doll #lga
could not believe this.
)#f course he !new, but he couldnt resist. Then he fell asleep... hes still sleeping*
The Miseries would have !illed hi", but they cant.+
)(e need to wa!e Sviato;ar. (ithout hi", we cant defeat the Miseries. 0lenush!a,
do you !now where theyve hidden hi"/+ @la"y as!ed.
0lenush!a brought a finger to her forehead and started to recall. )It see"s the
Miseries said so"ething about Salt 2ave. Its at 'ainbow 'iver, under a waterfall. &ut
the Miseries bragged that even if so"eone would have the courage to get there, all the
sa"e they wont be able to wa!e hi".+
)So what should we do/+ Muffin started to worry.
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%oo!ar pulled 0lenush!as ar". )Lets get there and well see* >ust let "e get to hi",
Ill wa!e hi" in a flash* Maybe need to tic!le hi" or pour water on hi".+
0lenush!a s"iled and twisted %oo!ars red foreloc!s. )Ta!e your ti"e* Its a long
way to 'ainbow 'iver. @irst, we "ust get to the 2ave of MirrorsB there is the way to
'ainbow 'iver. (ell find a raft and go downstrea" to the waterfall. There itll be clear
whats next.+
Stretching out into a chain, the friends "oved along the secret passageway. %oo!ar
stepped lightly first on short legs, followed by Masha, the doll #lga, Scholarch!in,
0lenush!a, and @la"y. They felt unco"fortable in the heart of the "ountain. They
wanted to be out in the open soon. Muffin and the cat Meown were whispering. Muffin
was co"pletely char"ed by the cats soft "anners and, not !nowing why herself, she
repeated every second, )Ive been proposed to a hundred ti"es, but I refused* I"
opposed to "arriage on principle*+
)7oesnt "atter... It happens... + Meown patiently agreed.
The friends wal!ed and wal!ed, and there was still no 2ave of Mirrors. Masha began
to worry that they were going around in circles. The doll #lgas legs got tired. She
whi"pered softly and only cal"ed down when @la"y put her on his bac!.
)Its nice at ho"e now* Theyre probably sitting down to dine*+ @la"y said drea"ily.
0t that "o"ent, he re"e"bered Ma"a, Frandpa Forynych, Misfit, and "ustard pies.
),ere*+ %oo!ars -oyful yell was heard very close by. ,e was standing at the turn and
pointing at so"ething with his finger.
)The 2ave of Magic Mirrors*+ 0lenush!a exclai"ed.
The walls of the underground cave were lined with "irrors of various si;es and
shapes. Mirrors went fro" the ground and reached an unattainable height. In the centre
of the cave was an elevation with railings, rese"bling a carousel. There, a single candle
li!e that in the Miseries cache was burning with a di" light.
)0lright* I li!e it here*+ Scholarch!in was delighted.
The gno"e had barely stepped on the carousel when the "agic "irrors bla;ed up.
Scholarch!in appeared in each. There was a great "ultitude of reflections and all were
different. #ne playful "irror caught Scholarch!ins reflection and spun it with insane
speed. 0nother put a royal "antle on the gno"e and put a sceptre in his hands. 0 third
endowed Scholarch!in with a long grey beard. It was felt that the "irrors were bored
and were delighted with the new fun.
)#ho$ho$ho* I want it too*+ %oo!ar re-oiced, cli"bing onto the carousel.
The "irrors i""ediately got busy with %oo!ar. #ne ingratiating "irror sli""ed
down his legs, widened his shoulders, turned his entangled head of red hair into brown
curls, and in general "ade hi" a handso"e "an fro" a billboard.
%oo!ar ad"ired his own reflection. )Loo! over there* Isnt it true I" very good$
loo!ing/ 0lthough, of course, not as nice as in real life*+
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The doll #lga too! a loo! and said, )More li!e you over there in the last "irror*+ The
"irror #lga was tal!ing about reflected a lop$eared face with an apeli!e -aw, frec!les,
and, for so"e reason, with a bow.
%oo!ar was offended, but after staring at it intently, he burst out laughing. ),a$ha*
Its not "e but you, #lga*+
)(ho else/ <ouve also gotten up onto the carousel*+
=ow everyone but the cautious 0lenush!a was already on the carousel. The "irrors
played with the patches of light and spar!led. The reflections alternated, divided into
twos, changed places... ,undreds of Muffins, Meowns, Mashas, @la"ys, #lgas, and
%oo!ars got tangled up and scattered along the thousands of "irrors in the "agic cave.
Music started to play and the carousel started to rotate slowly. The travellers al"ost
burst with laughter, loo!ing at their own i"ages in the wondrous "irrors. They
co"pletely forgot about the proxi"ity of the Miseries and the danger threatening
@airyland and the island of &uyan.
)(ould never have recogni;ed* %oo!ar, %oo!ar* Masha, there you are* Muffin*
Meown* (hos there/ Is that really "e* =ot at all li!e "e*+
0lenush!a stood aside fro" her friends having fun and recalled so"ething. )The
Miseries said that the reflections will assu"e life outside the "irrors if the "agic word is
uttered. Then the enchanted wheel will turn and...+ she said.
Masha and @la"y fro;e. They i"agined what would happen if the reflections ca"e
to life. It would be i"possible to tell which is real and which is fa!e* (here you are and
where your shadow is.
%oo!ar laughed, )=onsense of nonsense and all nonsense* I dont believe a single
word* Theyre bits of glass* =othing but bits of glass*+
)(hat have you done* Thats the "agic word* Shut up*+ 0lenush!a was scared.
)=onsense and again nonsense,+ %oo!ar persisted.
In that very second, the "irrors flic!ered and di""ed. The "usic bro!e off. 0n
o"inous silence hung. The glass started to tin!le audibly. The candle went out. The
friends stood in the dar!ness and listened as the clin!ing of glass intensified. The air in
the cave started to vibrate. Averyone caught his breath with the presenti"ent of
so"ething terrible. Then the candle suddenly flared up by itself and the "usic began to
play with incredible speed. The carousel started whirling speedily and the travellers saw
that they were no longer alone in the cave. ,undreds of ani"ated reflections rushed
around the scene. ,ere were handso"e$%oo!ar and scary$%oo!ar, over$fluffy Muffin,
"ultiple$headed and "ultiple$legged @la"y, a couple do;ens very si"ilar Meowns,
nu"erous Mashas, and the doll #lga with blue, red, orange, and green ribbons...
The carousel shoo!B the travellers flew fro" it and instantly beca"e confused with
the reflections. =ow Masha did not !now which of the hundreds of young dragons
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surrounding her was the real @la"y. )I" @la"y* =o, not you but "e* Me* Me*+ They all
repeated as a choir, spinning around in a "ad dance.
The cat Meown beca"e absolutely cross$eyed, choosing the prettiest fro" a
:uantity of Muffins. ,e li!ed the eyes "ore on one, the fur of another, the legs of the
%oo!ar separated a do;en Scholarch!ins fighting over the noteboo!. There were
"any Scholarch!ins but only one noteboo!, and it was clearly not enough for all of
%eace and "utual understanding reigned only a"ong the #lgas. They said hello,
s"iled, straightened each others hair, and whispered so"ething. 0 few had already
sha!en their fist at %oo!ars reflections.
Suddenly the Miseries rushed into the cave. #n seeing that the cave was full of
ani"ated reflections, the "onsters fro;e for a "o"ent and then started to sei;e the
reflections by the shoulder and throw the" onto the floor. The "irror reflections burst
into a clin!ing laughter and scattered into pieces. The friends huddled in a far corner of
the cave and watched the Miseries in fear.
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)&ehind one of the "irrors should be a passage, but which one/ I have never been
here before,+ 0lenush!a whispered fearfully.
)(e need to brea! all the "irrors, and the difficulty will disappear by itself*+ %oo!ar
)(hats with you* &rea!ing a "irror is bad luc!* &esides, the Miseries would catch
us i""ediately. The doubles would vanish together with the "irrors*+
2hasing the reflections, the Miseries accidentally found the"selves on the carousel,
and a lot of ugly "onsters instantly appeared in the "irrored cave. Their ani"ated
copies were as ugly and "alicious as the Miseries the"selves. &efore the doll #lgas
eyes, one of the doubles s"ashed her little "irror friend, for who" she had recently
ad-usted the bow, to pieces on the flagstone floor. #lga, in horror, covered her face with
her hands.

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!ha"ter Si1teen
D#/%STRE(- #F THE R(&%B#/ R&VER
2autiously loo!ing bac! at the Miseries, the fugitives "ade their way along the wall
of "irrors. It was al"ost i"possible to find a"ong the thousands of "irrors the one
concealed exit to 'ainbow 'iver. If they did not slip out of the 2ave of Mirrors before
the Miseries disposed of the last ani"ated reflection, it would be their end. The
"onsters were raging in the centre of the cave, brea!ing the "irror i"ages. &efore
cru"bling and vanishing, the reflections burst into a light clin!ing laugh. They did not
die, they si"ply returned to their "irrors.
)(heres the exit/ 0ll the glass is so identical*+ Masha was agitated.
The river could be heard hu""ing so"ewhere nearby and the waves were splashing
against the roc!s. There was an unsteady, hu"id "ist in the air. &ut how to get to the
river/ &ehind which "irror is the secret door hidden/
%oo!ar nudged the cat Muffin. )Muff, Muff, "a!e a heroic decision* #r are all your
thoughts in one direction now with the appearance of this babbling cat/+
)I !now how to find the necessary "irror*+ Scholarch!in interrupted %oo!ar.
)There should be drops of water on it* Its the dullest, because its the closest of all
to the river. Mirrors dont ta!e in "oisture*+
)&ut why/ I protest* I de"and solid proof*+ %oo!ar argued, but nobody was
listening. Averyone rushed to find the dullest "irror.
0t that "o"ent in the "idst of the cave, the next to last reflection fell apart with a
ringing of glass. #nly one of the dragon doubles was still getting away fro" its pursuers,
rushing with brea!nec! speed around the "agic carousel. Misery flashed his red eyes
i"patiently and the poor dragon shattered. The Miseries threw the"selves at the
fugitives. =ow that they were done with the reflections, there was nothing to hinder
the" fro" tearing the !ids to shreds.
)@aster, faster* Loo! for the exit or were lost*+ the doll #lga hurried the".
,ere in one of the corners of the cave Masha saw a crac!ed dull "irror. The
nearness of the water "ade itself felt. the "irror had dar!ened so that it was already not
reflecting. 0lenush!a touched it lightly and it slowly turned. The beginning of a narrow
staircase revealed itself. The fugitives hurried along the wet and slippery steps.
The "irror door closed right in front of the Miseries noses. Misery wanted to s"ash
it to s"ithereens with his heavyweight fist, but Missus Misery stopped hi" suddenly.
)(ait* I have a better idea*+ she said with a grin.
The friends ran out of the 2ave of Mirrors.
),ere it is, 'ainbow 'iver*+ 0lenush!a cheered.
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#ne loo! was enough for Masha to understand why the river was so na"ed. The
water in the river was li!e a flowing rainbow. Seven "ulti$coloured strea"s were
flowing side by side, without "ixing their waters.
The strea" by the shore was 'A7.
The next strea" was #'0=FA.
&eside the orange was <ALL#(.
0fter the yellow was F'AA=.
In the "iddle of the river, on a steep descent, a &LEA strea" was raging.
&eside it, an I=7IF# strea" was foa"ing.
II#LAT waves were splashing against the opposite shore.
The underground river was narrow, but swift and fast flowing. The water was raging
and seething, spurting little vivid coloured fountains.
Scholarch!in scratched his brow with a pencil. )The water in the river is "ulti$
coloured* ,ave you noticed, %oo!ar/ ,ow to -ustify this fro" a scientific point of view/+
)Its all a piece of ca!e. Theres probably a watercolour paint factory nearby. #r a
fuel and grease supply base. Its possible to find a plausible explanation for every
"iracle,+ %oo!ar declared.
)(hat are you saying* Its a "agic river* There are no factories near it*+ Meown was
0lenush!a and @la"y intensely exa"ined the shoreline. )(heres the raft/ (as it
really washed away/+ 0lenush!a began to worry.
(hile @la"y and 0lenush!a were searching for the raft, Masha dipped her flushed
face into the water. )(ow* ,eres a rainbow* 0nd what a fish -ust swa" past. blue$
cri"son$green with brown spots*+
)(hat horror* I always prefer "onochro"es. &r$r*+ Muffin gri"aced.
)7ont you want to ta!e a bath/+ %oo!ar suggested to her.
)In coloured water/* =ever*+ the cat ob-ected.
),""... Muffy, youre "issing a wonderful opportunity to dye your fur in red or
even blue. Meown would li!e that,+ %oo!ar began to incite her.
)Loo!* (hats that there in the rushes/+ The doll #lga saw so"ething "assive "ade
of logs in the reeds by the shore. It was certainly a raft.
),old the" up* ,old the"*+ a terrible roar was suddenly heard.
The Miseries rushed at the refugees fro" three sides. This was Missus Miserys plan
? surround the travellers and cut off all their paths of escape. ,owever, the "onsters
did not consider that the friends could "anage to find the raft.
)>u"p onto the raft* @la"y, cast off*+ 0lenush!a hurried the". The fugitives
-u"ped onto the slippery logs. @la"y hastily breathed out fla"e and burned the rope.
The rapid caught the raft and carried it along.
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The Miseries ran along the shore after the raft. They were furious that the fugitives
had escaped, but their voices sounded tender, enticing. It see"ed to 0lenush!a that she
recogni;ed her brother Ivanush!as voice. )Sister, I" here* Loo! at "e* 7ear, dear
0lenush!a* <ou really dont love your brother at all*+
Masha heard Ma"as voice. )(here are you, Masha/ 7ont pain us, co"e here*+
Masha, al"ost believing that this was Ma"a calling her fro" the shore, al"ost loo!ed
The first to co"e to his senses was Scholarch!in, to who" the Miseries shouted that
he had dropped his noteboo!. )I""ediately close your eyes tight and cover up your
ears* #therwise, were lost*+ Scholarch!in ordered.
Averyone on the raft did so, only the cat Muffin could not control herself and
glanced at the Miseries with one eye.
)Muffin* %retty fluffy Muffin* =o one appreciates youB no one !nows all your worth
as well as we do* 0ll your drea"s will co"e true* Loo! at us* %retty fluffy Muffin, our
loo!s are full of ad"iration*+ the Miseries called her.
),""... These Miseries arent co"plete bloc!heads. Enli!e so"e, they i""ediately
noticed how worthy I a"*+ The cat was surprised and :uic!ly loo!ed around at the
It was a fatal "ista!e. The cat barely turned her head when the Miseries flic!ering
pupils sun! into hers. Muffins body tensed up. ,er paws began to twitch. The red pupils
of the Miseries see"ed to have penetrated into the very depths of her conscience and
robbed her of the authority over herself.
)(hats with "e/ =o... no... I dont want to... Ill drown*+ Muffin "uttered. She
staggered, rose, and tried to -u"p into the water. 0lenush!a pressed the scra"bling
Muffin to the raft and covered her eyes with her pal". Muffin "eowed and scratched,
trying to -u"p into the river, and subsided only a "inute later. The current :uic!ly
carried the raft away. (ailing in rage, the Miseries began to lag behind.
,owever, here the unforeseen happened. The raft fell into an eddy. It happened so
:uic!ly that Masha could not !eep her ground on the slippery logs and fell into the
water. %oo!ar, as usual perched on Mashas lap, fell into the river with her.
=o one on the raft noticed that Masha and %oo!ar were in the water. They had
closed their eyes and covered their ears in order not to succu"b to the sweet speeches
and captivating loo!s of the Miseries. Masha and %oo!ar shouted, but their voices were
"uffled by the noise of the river and the bloodthirsty howls of the Miseries on the shore.
The raft disappeared behind a bend in the river, but Masha and %oo!ar re"ained in
the water. The Miseries threw a rope with a noose and dragged the" to shore. Masha
and %oo!ar were wet and tre"bling. Misery grabbed Masha and raised her to the level
of his fanged face.
)Fotcha* Ill tear you apart*+ ,e opened wide his huge fetid "outh.
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,e would have bitten off Mashas head, had Missus Misery not stopped hi". )(ait*
This girl loo!s so"ewhat strange* (here are you fro"/ 0nswer "e*+
)Moscow*+ Masha replied, al"ost bursting into tears.
)(hats this "or!o/ Theres no "or!o* Tell the truth* <oure not fro" the island of
&uyan/ 0nswer "e*+ Misery roared.
The hideous faces reflected so"ething li!e concern.
)0 girl fro" the hu"an world/ #n &uyan theres a stupid prediction that so"e girl
will overpower us, the Miseries. Is it really this one/ Shes pathetic and wea!. I can bite
her in half,+ said Missus Misery.
)Still, better get rid of the girl. Lets leave her in the 2ave of ,orrors* Shell go out of
her "ind and will no longer be a danger to us. =ot a single hu"an can stand what he
sees there,+ Misery proposed. ,e dragged Masha to one of the "irrors. &ehind the
"irror was an oa! door. Misery opened it and tossed Masha into a tight cave.
)Sit there, girl fro" the hu"an world, and go cra;y with fear* If your friends try to
rescue you, well grab the". My hands are itching to count all of 0len!as bones. ,ow do
you li!e that, so sly* To than! "e for "y !indness this way* @or all the crusts of bread
that I specifically !ept in da"pness so theyd be covered with "ould*+ Missus Misery
)0nd what do we do with this/+ Misery glanced as!ance at %oo!ar, who" his
daughter was twisting in her hands. She lifted %oo!ar by the legs and exa"ined hi",
)=o, %apa, dont even drea" of it* I wont give hi" up* The cat Meown ran away and
I" left without a toy,+ his daughter clai"ed.
)I dont want to be your toy*+ %oo!ar was indignant, dangling with his head down.
)7oesnt "atter what you want. I" going to play, not you. I can thin! of a lot of
interesting ga"es. hurl stones at you, pull out the stuffing, rip off your ar"s and legs.
=ot one toy has lasted longer than three days with "e yet.+
Meanwhile, the adult Miseries were deliberating in the hall of "agic "irrors. The
:uiet "irrors reflected their evil "ugs.
)0rent you afraid that the pests we let slip will wa!e up Sviato;ar/+ Missus Misery
)I"possible. They wont be able to re"ove the spell,+ Misery cal"ed her.
Shortly after Masha and %oo!ar fell into the river, their friends on the raft opened
their eyes.
)(heres Masha/+ 0lenush!a as!ed, noticing that the girl was gone.
)%oo!ars gone too*+ the cat Muffin began to fret.
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The doll #lga threw up her hands. )#h, no* 'e"e"ber, the raft was spinning/ They
probably fell off*+
@la"y hastily too! off and "ade a circle over 'ainbow 'iver. )Theyre nowhere*+ he
shouted fro" the height.
)The Miseries threw the" a rope and pulled the" to shore. They shouted, but you
didnt hear*+ a voice crea!ed suddenly.
)(hos tal!ing/+ as!ed Scholarch!in.
)Me, the raft. I" "ade of trees fro" the Tal!ing @orest. I tried to float towards
Masha and %oo!ar, but the current carried "e away* I swear by "y bar!, I tried but
failed*+ the sa"e voice explained.
#lga beca"e terribly agitated and grabbed 0lenush!as sleeve. ),ow do we help
Masha and %oo!ar/ Thin! of so"ething* I beg you, thin!*+ #lga began to cry.
)=ows not the ti"e for tears* =ow we "ust wor! out a plan to help the",+
Scholarch!in said in a businessli!e "anner.
)So wor! one out*+
)I would, but I" used to noting everything down in points. &ut its difficult to write
in the noteboo!. The raft sha!es,+ the gno"e co"plained.
)=o need to write anything. #nly the hero Sviato;ar can save our friends. 'aft, tell
us, will we be at Salt 2ave soon/+ 0lenush!a as!ed.
)Salt 2ave is under the waterfall. Ill ta!e you to the waterfall, but youll have to go
further by yourselves. I cant get the logs closer as you go down the steep cliff*+ the raft
)0nd when will we get to the waterfall/+
)=o sooner than an hour. I" drifting fast, I swear by "y branches*+ the raft started
to -ustify itself.
0lenush!a sighed. She !new that every "inute reduced the chances of saving Masha
and %oo!ar. (ould they be able to brea! the spell and wa!e Sviato;ar/ ,owever, she
said nothing to the doll #lga, Scholarch!in, Meown, or Muffin. She did not want to
distress the" in advance.
)If Masha survives, itll be a real "iracle,+ 0lenush!a thought to herself. <et, she
!new the Miseries too well to believe in "iracles.
Meanwhile, Masha, thrown into the 2ave of ,orrors, saw above her head a ceiling
with sharp spi!es. The ceiling was slowly descending. It would ta!e all of a few hours
and the spi!es would pierce through her. The girl began to cry. If only so"eone was
nearby. &ut there was no one. #nly silence and the i"pending bul! of roc!s above her

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!ha"ter Seenteen
@la"y gripped the rope with his teeth and flew ahead of the raft, trying to "a!e it
"ove faster.
)Listen and re"e"ber* The waterfall were sailing to is dangerous. If we fall, were
toast. &are cliff on both sides. &ut in one place theres a landing carved out of the roc!.
<ou should have ti"e to get on it and tie "e to the hoo!,+ the raft warned.
)If not/+ as!ed Scholarch!in.
)(e dont have a choice. Theres already no choice,+ the raft re"ar!ed.
The ru"ble of the waterfall beca"e louder and louder. The water in 'ainbow 'iver
raged and was ready to -u"p. 0n iridescent glow of "illions of colourful sprays hung in
the air. The raft was carried towards the waterfall. 0 precipice ca"e into view, beyond
which an abyss gaped.
Averyone greedily exa"ined the landing that the raft had "entioned. The steps
began fro" the water and were set against the vertical cliff. The edge of the stairs went
to the waterfall. 0 hoo! was stic!ing out of the cliff. 0 few seconds before the raft
dropped down the waterfall, @la"y too! off and threw the rope over the hoo!. The rope
went taut. @la"y hastily pulled the raft closer to shore and tied it tightly. The travellers
"oved fro" the raft to the steps and found the"welves above the ru"bling waterfall.
Muffin loo!ed down and i""ediately started to feel di;;y. 0nd she, who wal!ed
along balcony railings in Moscow, was not afraid of heights* )7ont loo! down* ,ave to
get used to it*+ she shouted.
),ow did the Miseries "anage to descend the vertical cliff and bring the
heavyweight hero with the"/+ the doll #lga as!ed.
)The Miseries the"selves didnt go down. The bats carried the hero into Salt 2ave.
They all gathered ? there are so "any of the" ? in order to lift hi",+ 0lenush!a
)(ait, wait* Since the bats flew over the waterfall, so can I*+ @la"y was pleased.
)0 beauty with a !ind and selfless soul "ust !iss the hero. #nly then will the spell be
lifted and Sviato;ar wa!e up,+ said 0lenush!a.
)Maybe Ill fit/ Its truly about "e*+ Muffin proposed unassu"ingly.
Meown loo!ed the cat over fro" head to tail with an evaluating glance. )<ou dont
fit. <ou "ight be a beauty but not a person*+ he "eowed -ealously.
)Then Ill turn into a beauty and !iss the hero. (hat wont one do for Masha/+
@la"y sighed.
)(ont wor!* It "ust be a true beauty*+ 0lenush!a shoo! her head.
)Then you !iss hi" yourself, 0lenush!a*+ Scholarch!in suggested.
0lenush!a blushed. )Id be happy to, but how do I get into the cave/+ she as!ed.
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)I cant ta!e off with you. <oure
too heavy,+ @la"y loo!ed guiltily at his
)The doll #lga* Thats who" we
need*+ 0lenush!a exclai"ed.
#lga blushed and began to ru"ple
the he" of her dress. )I dont !now
whether I" suitable. Its such a...
#lga had to be persuaded for a
long ti"e to fly with @la"y to Salt
2ave and !iss the hero Sviato;ar. She
was ready to fly into the cave but
would not agree to !iss the hero for
)Is it really possible/ (ere not
ac:uainted at all* &esides, its
so"ehow indecent to first !iss a "an
whos so far above you in stature*+ The doll was obstinate.
,owever, #lga allowed herself to be persuaded nevertheless. She understood that
Masha and %oo!ar were in danger and needed to be rescued and only the hero could do
@la"y offered #lga his bac! and ordered her to hug his nec! tightly. ,e too! off
fro" the edge of the waterfall with difficulty and flew a"ongst the "ulticoloured sprays.
It was a"a;ingly beautiful. the silvery young dragon and the waterfall shi""ering with
all the colours ? red, green, blue, orange, indigo, yellow, purple.
@la"y descended in circles, !eeping far away fro" the currents so as not to be
caught by the swirl of the waterfall. The cats Muffin and Meown went to the edge of the
landing, watching the flight of the young dragon.
)(heres the cave/ 7o you see it/+ @la"y shouted, turning to #lga. The water was
roaring so loudly that @la"y had to shout.
#lga, whose voice was not so strong, leaned over to @la"ys ear. )'ight there*
7irectly under the current*+
)0ha* Fet ready* +
@la"y gathered speed and cut into the raging torrent. It lasted only a "o"ent, but
#lga "anaged to get soa!ed to the s!in. @la"y and his co"panion flew into a stone
recess under the waterfall and rolled with a tu"ble across the floor. They were in Salt
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Salt 2ave was not big. It presented itself as a recess in the cliffB the vertical torrent of
the water concealed its entrance. In the "iddle of the cave, ar"s under his head and
snoring gently, the hero Sviato;ar in shiny ar"our and red leather boots was sleeping.
=ear the hero lay a hel"et and an oa! club. The breath of the sleeping hero instantly
dried the doll #lgas dress.
)7ont wait* &rea! his spell, :uic!*+ @la"y pushed her.
#lga loo!ed at the hero, hesitantly shifting fro" foot to foot. 2o"pared with
Sviato;ar, she was so tiny that she could easily fit in the pal" of his hand.
)3iss hi", :uic!* (e dont have ti"e*+ @la"y hurried her.
)2ouldnt you turn away/ I feel shy*+ #lga as!ed.
@la"y turned away. The doll #lga hesitantly approached the sleeping hero, sta"ped
her feet, pluc!ed up courage, and, closing her eyes, !issed hi" on the chee!.

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!ha"ter Eighteen
THE (/(2E%&%+ #F THE HER# SV&(T#0(R
0fter !issing Sviato;ar, #lga fearfully -u"ped bac! and pressed against @la"y. The
hero was still snoring with his hands under his head and did not thin! of wa!ing up.
#lga and @la"y loo!ed perplexedly at each other.
)Maybe you so"ehow !issed hi" wrong/+ @la"y as!ed.
),ow wrong/+ #lga was distressed.
)I dont !now how. I" no expert. (hat if it shouldnt be on the chee! but on the
nose/ Maybe try again/+ @la"y suggested.
0t that "o"ent, Sviato;ar snee;ed so deafeningly that the waterfall strea" swerved
significantly. #lga and @la"y were al"ost blown out of the cave. It was good that they
hid in a crac! in the wall. Sviato;ar started to turn. ,e yawned.
#lga and @la"y loo!ed with bated breath at the hero. Sviato;ar was wa!ing up
gradually. ,e sat up and sleepily bu"ped his head against the ceiling of Salt 2ave.
%ieces of salt flew in all directions. <et he did not even notice.
)#$ho$ho$ho$ho* I slept well indeed*+ Sviato;ar said in a thunderous voice. ,e only
now noticed the doll and the young dragon hiding in a corner of the cave. ),ello, !ids*
(here a" I/+ he said in a deep voice.
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),ello, Encle Sviato;ar* <oure in Salt 2ave. The Miseries slipped sleeping powder
into your wine and "oved you here, but we wo!e you up,+ @la"y said happily. #lga was
grateful that @la"y did not go into the details of how exactly the hero was wo!en up.
Sviato;ar shoo! his head. ),ow long did I sleep/+
)0 very, very long ti"e* (hen you fell asleep, I was still :uite s"all, but now I"
big* The Miseries have been !eeping the whole @airyland in fear. They ate al"ost all the
ani"als in Tal!ing @orest. =ow theyve captured our friends, Masha and %oo!ar, and
"ay !ill the".+
Sviato;ar dar!ened. ,e s:uee;ed a stone in his hand so hard that he crushed it into
powder. )(here are these Miseries now/ Muic!, ta!e "e to the"*+ ,e grabbed the club
and with a few stro!es enlarged the Salt 2ave entrance.
0lenush!a and Scholarch!in, standing near the edge of the waterfall, heard the
co""otion and saw shards of bro!en stone "ix with the current.
)Sviato;ar wo!e up* ,e see"s to be very angry*+ 0lenush!a said.
@la"y, with #lga on his bac!, e"erged a"ong the water sprays.
)Sviato;ar is cli"bing up the waterfall* ,es so strong that the water wont stop hi"*
Averything wor!ed out for us*+ @la"y yelled happily.
Sviato;ars head in a hel"et appeared over the face of the cliff. ,e pulled hi"self up
and now he was already standing next to 0lenush!a.
The gno"e Scholarch!in i""ediately placed the noteboo! in front of hi", as!ing
for his autograph. )%lease* If you have no signature, you can put a cross*+ he pro"pted.
)(ell/ I see you should be congratulated/ (o!e Sviato;ar/ ,es probably a
tolerable dor!,+ Muffin "uttered in #lgas ear.
Sviato;ar bowed low to his rescuers. ,is golden ar"our, fro" which the waterfall
had washed away all the dust, shone and spar!led. )Than! you for co"ing to "y
)It was not us. It was #lga who helped you, hero* She !issed you,+ 0lenush!a said.
The doll glowered at 0lenush!a. =ow, she had let the cat out of the bag* She al"ost
fainted fro" sha"e when Sviato;ar lifted her up on his pal" to his face and as!ed,
)Liberator, I beg you to be "y wife*+
)I"possible. <oure so excessively big. 0nd then youre "uch older than "e...+ the
doll #lga babbled, not even losing her usual practicality in her e"barrass"ent.
Sviato;ar nodded. )(ell do as you say, saviour* I understand we wont be together.
&ut all the sa"e, I wont stop loving you*+ Then he hardened his face and as!ed, )(here
are the Miseries/ ,ow do I find the"/+
)=o need to find the". Theyre in the caves* %reparing for battle,+ Scholarch!in
said, hiding the noteboo! in his poc!et.
Sviato;ar s:uee;ed the club in his hand. )(ell* Theyre getting ready, but I"
already ready* (ell see whos who.+
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The friends sat down on the raft, which, under Sviato;ars weight, settled deeply in
the water. The hero rested his club against the botto" of the river and pushed off, using
the club as a pole. Slowly and sluggishly, the tal!ing raft "oved against the current.
),ow strong you are* Its i""ediately obvious youre a sports"an.+ The cat Muffin
was carried away and rubbed against Sviato;ars leg.
)Shoo* 7ont dangle near "y hand*+ Sviato;ar "u"bled, flushed fro" exertion.
So"e ti"e passed before 'ainbow 'iver beca"e wider and the strength of the
current wea!ened. =ow the raft floated faster. =evertheless, it still see"ed to everyone
that they were returning very, very slowly. =early two hours had already gone by since
the Miseries had caught Masha and %oo!ar. 0nything could have happened to the"
during this ti"e.
)Tell "e about the Miseries* I should !now with who" I have to fight,+ Sviato;ar
said, turning to his co"panions.
)(ell... The Miseries are very big and strong*+ 0lenush!a said.
)Theyre crafty and sly. Instead of guard dogs they have bats,+ Muffin added.
)0nd they also have a loo! that casts a spell*+ #lga recalled.
Sviato;ar waved his club. )I" not afraid to loo! danger in the eye*+
)=ot in this case,+ re"ar!ed Scholarch!in. )The Miseries loo! casts a spell and
deprives the will. ,owever, Ive an idea*+
The gno"e too! out fro" his poc!et dar! glasses with "irrored glass. ,e always
wore the" in sunny weather and valued the" no less than the noteboo! and pencil. )Its
possible to withstand the "onsters loo!s if you wear dar! glasses* Then their evil "agic
will be reflected by the glass and lose strength.+
)7o you want "e to put your little round things on "y nose/ Theyre absolutely
tiny*+ Sviato;ar wondered. Indeed, the dar! glasses were very s"all and clearly would
not fit Sviato;ar.
Scholarch!in sul!ed. (hy had he not thought of that/ )Thats what happens when
theres no possibility to do all the calculations*+ he said with annoyance.
)=o proble"* I !now the "agnifying spell. Iasilisa taught "e,+ 0lenush!a consoled
She leaned towards the glasses and :uietly whispered so"ething. The glasses began
to grow right away and now they already fit Sviato;ar. The hero tried the" on.
)(ell/+ 0lenush!a as!ed.
)Theyre probably alright, but still ridiculous. (here have you seen a bespectacled
hero/+ Sviato;ar as!ed doubtfully.
)<ou now need the glasses no less than the club. 'e"e"ber that*+ 0lenush!a said.
Suddenly, they heard a splash. 0 huge stone hit the water not far fro" the raft.
So"eone laughed.
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!ha"ter %ineteen
-(SH( (%D ,##2(R &% THE -&SER&ES' !(,T&V&T)
Masha saw the ceiling with sharp spi!es and understood what death the Miseries
had prepared for her. (ith each passing hour, the ceiling would be hanging lower until
it crushed her. She saw white, al"ost pulveri;ed, bones on the floor. =o one who fell in
here before "anaged to get out. 0 terrible end was prepared for all.
Masha re"e"bered Ma"a and %apa and thought that if she had re"ained in
Moscow, nothing li!e this would have happened. Instead of tre"bling in the dar! cave,
she would now be sitting in a chair in front of the TI and watching cartoons. )(hat if
its all a drea"/ (hat if, dying here, I cal"ly wa!e up at ho"e a"ong nor"al things/+
she thought. ,owever, she !new :uite well that this was not a drea".
It cannot be said that %oo!ars situation was "uch better. The Miseries daughter
dragged a cage with two hungry rats fro" so"ewhere, opened it, and set the rats on
%oo!ar. )Ta!e hi"* @ight, "idget, or theyll tear you apart*+ she ordered.
The rats drove %oo!ar into a corner of the cave. There was already nowhere for
%oo!ar to "ove bac!. (hen one of the rats rushed at hi", %oo!ar sat down and the rat
ran into a "irror. The glass crac!ed and cru"bled, forcing the rat to -u"p away. %oo!ar
saw behind the "irror an ancient secret door, of which the Miseries the"selves li!ely
did not !now. It was s"all and low. The Miseries daughter, directing the rats at %oo!ar,
noticed nothing.
0fter the first rat, the second rat rushed at %oo!ar. It was ready to tear hi" apart,
but at the last second, the Miseries daughter grabbed the rats tail and threw it into the
cage. )I" tired of this ga"e* (hats the sense of losing the toy so :uic!ly/+ she said.
She sei;ed %oo!ar, tied hi" to a stic! driven into the ground, and began to spread
wood around hi". )Lets play coo! and chic!en* Aight guesses, wholl be the chic!en/+
,owever, %oo!ar was luc!y. (hen the torturer was about to set the wood on fire,
the adult Miseries called her. )@inish playing later, dear* (e need to get rid of the
warrior and the pests. Theyve "anaged to wa!e Sviato;ar. The bats brought us this bad
news. 7oesnt "atter, Sviato;ar hasnt long to live*+
The Miseries daughter left %oo!ar tied to the stic! and left. %oo!ar tugged at the
ropes. They would not yield* She had bound hi" tightly.
),ow do I disentangle "yself/ #therwise, I" li!e a spool of thread,+ %oo!ar
thought. Suddenly he re"e"bered that a pen!nife was hidden in one of his poc!ets. ,e
felt the reassuring weight of the !nife through the fabric but could not reach it with his
hands bound. If he could only reach the poc!et, as his soft cotton ar"s could bend in all
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%oo!ar tried to rip his poc!et but could not. #lga had sewn the poc!et very
conscientiously. )=othing but har" fro" this doll* She couldnt be careless once in her
life* I will perish now because of her,+ he said, annoyed.
@ortunately, %oo!ar found a s"all hole in the fabric. ,e recalled that a few days ago,
still in Moscow, he had brushed against a nail and was too la;y to sew. )0nd its good
that I was la;y*+ he thought gladly. )If not for this hole, I wouldve died. #lga wouldve
been to bla"e for everything ? she sewed the poc!et too industriously with thic!
%oo!ar expanded the hole, pulled out the pen!nife, and cut the rope. @reed, he
hurried to the 2ave of ,orrors. The oa! door was closed and bolted. %oo!ar "oved it
aside with considerable difficulty.
)Muic!, Masha* 2o"e out*+ %oo!ar shouted. =o one answered hi". Silence. The
ceiling hung above the floor, al"ost resting on the long rusty spi!es. )Masha, where are
you/+ he whispered in terror.
,ere is what happened to Masha.
)I dont believe that one can die in @airyland*+ Masha repeated, but the ceiling with
spi!es san! lower and lower.
(hile staring, Masha noticed that the spi!es were placed unevenly on the ceiling.
They were "eant for an adult person or a large ani"al. There were wide gaps between
the individual spi!es. Masha huddled in one of these gaps. #nly in this way did she
"anage to avoid certain death.
#n hearing a voice calling her, Masha decided that this was the Miseries chec!ing
whether she had survived, and she re"ained silent. &y chance, however, she saw
%oo!ars little legs and, s:uee;ing through between the spi!es, crawled out of the 2ave
of ,orrors. She had barely done this when the roc! loudly hit the floor, crushing the old
bones into powder and brea!ing the spi!es. 7eprived of its catch, the cave destroyed
itself in vexation.
)%oo!ar* <ou saved "e*+ Masha pic!ed up her little rescuer and showered hi" with
)#nly not on the ear* I" tic!lish*+ %oo!ar got away. )Therere "ore secret corridors
here than holes in a sieve. There behind a bro!en "irror is a strange door. I found it
when I fought with the rats.+
)<ou fought with rats/+ Masha was horrified.
%oo!ar nodded carelessly. )It is true. Thirty, no, forty rats attac!ed "e. #f course, I
beat the" all. =one left alive.+
)%oo!ar, youre a hero*+
)#h, baby* 7ont "ention it* #nly doing "y -ob*+ %oo!ar ac!nowledged, bea"ing
with pride. Masha began to thin! fro" which cartoon %oo!ar had ta!en this heroic
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Masha and %oo!ar carefully stepped over the
sharp edges of the bro!en "irror and went to the
door. It was covered with un!nown characters.
)#ho* Loo!, how old* #ne "ight thin! that
its older than these "ountains*+ Masha
Enexpectedly, the door yielded easily, not
even crea!ing. The friends stepped into a dar!
corridor. =arrow stairs without railings led
upstairs. Masha and %oo!ar started to ascend.
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!ha"ter T*enty
)Theyll tip us over into the water*+ the doll #lga exclai"ed.
0nother lu"p cut into the waves of the river and drenched the travellers with a
strea" of coloured water.
)Loo!, its the bats* + Scholarch!in shouted.
7ar! swift shadows swept over the river and dropped stones, which they were
carrying in their claws. The water foa"ed fro" the i"pact. The bats let out sharp
triu"phant cries when the stones hit the raft. Several hundred bats were dragging in
their claws a large boulder si"ilar to the one that al"ost overturned the raft a "inute
ago. They flew through the air precisely above the "iddle of the raft, threatening to turn
it over. (ith all his strength, the hero Sviato;ar struc! the boulder with the club and
repelled it.
,owever, the roc! shattered into frag"ents fro" the i"pact. #ne of these slivers
scratched 0lenush!as chee!. )#uch*+ she exclai"ed and pressed her hand to her face,
and when she too! it off, a drop of blood reddened her pal".
The bats circled over the river, du"ping all sorts of new stones.
),old on*+ The young dragon @la"y soared and, letting out long tongues of fla"e,
forced his way into the cloud of bats. The bats hissed with hatred but did not dare to
0fter several -ets of fire, the cloud of bats thinned significantly. &urnt and blinded,
the bats hid in the blac! crevices of the cliff. The leader of the bats snea!ed up to @la"y
fro" behind and tried to sei;e hi" by the nec! with iron claws, but the young dragon
turned his head during flight and seared it. The bat s:uealed and rushed off at full
speed, hitting against the arches of the cave.
)@la"y* <ou won*+ Muffin yelled fro" the raft. @la"y did not hear her. (ar"ed up,
he pursued the bat leader and disappeared fro" sight.
It turned out that the friends re-oiced too soon. 0 furry "onster with croo!ed fangs
appeared unexpectedly on the shore. The "onster flared its red eyes and stared at
Sviato;ar and the brave travellers.
)The tric!s are over* =ow Ill crush you*+ Misery growled. ,e stared at Sviato;ar.
&ut what is this/ To the "onsters surprise, Sviato;ar, protected by the glasses,
withstood his evil, bewitching loo!.
(ith the club in his hand, Sviato;ar -u"ped at Misery in the heat of the "o"ent but
fell into the water. The raft was too far fro" shore. (hile the hero was struggling with
the current, Misery uttered a terrible spell.
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).uka, .iaka, and .abai,
Awake and arise)
.uka, .iaka, and .abai,
/*en all sties)
And $rom there, .uka, .iaka,
4et out the 3askoriaka,
So that this 3askoriaka
Together with .uka and .iaka,
The water would sour and roil,
And it .abai would boil.+
Misery had barely finished casting the spell when a strong wind developed. The
waves began to sweep over the raft. 0 violent stor" bro!e out on the river. 0ll seven
colourful strea"s "erged into one, "enacing and swift. The water boiled and raged. The
tal!ing raft could overturn at any "o"ent. The doll #lga, Scholarch!in, Meown, and
Muffin huddled together, tre"bling in horror. It see"ed nothing would save the". The
raft was suc!ed into a huge whirlpool.
)2an I, so young, fluffy, and beautiful, really die/+ Muffin as!ed Meown
)In theory, yes,+ Meown replied with an air of i"portance, sounding exactly li!e the
gno"e Scholarch!in.
)If were going to perish anyway, ad"it it. ,ave you ever loved "e/+
)So"eti"es,+ Meown answered cautiously.
)&ut at least "ore than fried fish/+
)=othing co"pares to you*+ Meown assured her. 0gain it was not clear what he
actually had in "ind.
)'aft* 0ll hope is on you. @loat to the shore*+ 0lenush!a whispered.
She leaned down over the water and whispered a si"ple good spell.
)/vercome $ear we must.
Forces o$ evil scatter in the dust) +
0 "iracle happened. 2rea!ing, the old raft straightened and, swept by the waves,
started to doc!. Sviato;ar caught hold of it and did not let the river carry hi" into the
whirlpool. (hile the raft was floating to shore, Misery pic!ed up a roc! frag"ent fro"
the ground and wanted to hurl it at Sviato;ar. ,owever, 'ainbow 'iver, ta!ing pity on
.uka, .iaka, and .abai all refer to so"e sort of bogey"an in Slavic languages.
The 'ussian word raskoriaka "eans a bow$legged or clu"sy person.
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the hero, pic!ed up the raft and threw it onto shore. The boulder thrown by the "onster
only drenched Sviato;ar with a shower of sprays.
Misery did not have ti"e to pic! up a new stone. Sviato;ar rushed at hi" with his
club raised over his head. Misery grabbed a two$handled blac! sword, which was hidden
in the reeds, and the battle began. 0lenush!a, #lga, Scholarch!in, and the cats Muffin
and Meown anxiously watched the battle, on which their lives depended.
Sviato;ar deftly beat off Miserys blows with the club. ,owever, the "onsters sword
chipped a little off the heros club each ti"e. Soon Sviato;ars club was co"pletely
hac!ed to pieces and not suitable for battle.
Throwing away the useless weapon, Sviato;ar -u"ped onto Misery and they rolled
on the ground, s:uee;ing each other tightly, with ribs crac!ing and chain "ail brea!ing.
Missus Misery and her daughter ran out of the 2ave of Mirrors and rushed to help
Misery. They wanted to tear the glasses off Sviato;ar, in order to "a!e hi" vulnerable to
their fiery ga;e.
Scholarch!in, the doll #lga, Muffin, 0lenush!a, and Meown also too! part in the
battle, though not possessing Sviato;ars strength. Scholarch!in swung his briefcase,
pounding Misery on the forehead, though that one did not notice, s:uee;ing Sviato;ar in
his steel e"brace. The doll #lga was acting prudently, as always. She stole up to the
Miseries daughter and with a shy loo! stuc! a pin into her leg.
)#uch*+ the Miseries daughter howled and tried to bite the doll #lga, but "issed
and got her "a"as finger instead. Missus Misery, not loo!ing bac!, !ic!ed her
daughter so hard that she flew into the "iddle of the river and began to blow bubbles
Misery pushed Sviato;ar aside and stretched his terrible clawed paws out to
0lenush!a, who used the only weapon which nature gave her. )0h$ah$ah$ah*+ she
screa"ed so piercingly that the "onster covered up his ears and -u"ped bac! further.
0t the sa"e ti"e, Missus Misery pulled the cat Muffin fro" her hair$doB however,
Muffin had clung on fir"ly and had not wanted to brea! away at all. Meown hissed at
the Miseries daughter, who was trying to get to shore, and scratched her with all four
Success in battle gradually began to shift to the side of the friends. Sviato;ar in
anger s:uee;ed Misery so tightly that the "onster was breathless. )<ouve lost*
,owever, here ca"e Missus Miserys hoarse triu"phant laughter. )<oure wrong,
Sviato;ar* This is your end. Loo! what bird I caught*+
Missus Misery sei;ed 0lenush!a and brought a sharp !nife up to her nec!. #n
barely noticing this, Sviato;ar i""ediately released Misery. ,e never doubted for a
"o"ent that Missus Misery would !ill the girl if he did not do it.
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)<ouve "ade the right decision* 0nd now bind yourself with this "agic rope*+
Missus Misery tic!led 0lenush!a with the !nife and threw Sviato;ar the rope. The hero
-ust touched it and the rope coiled around hi" fro" head to toe. Its other end wound
around Muffin, the doll #lga, Scholarch!in, and Meown.
Misery !ic!ed Sviato;ar. )Stupid nobleness* <ou already al"ost won but didnt want
to sacrifice this fool. <ou really thought that wed spare her life/ ,a$ha* (e already
finished the girl fro" the hu"an world, and now its your turn.+
Sviato;ar flew into a rage trying to brea! free, but brea!ing the "agic rope was
beyond the power of even a hero warrior. The doll #lga started to cry and Muffins fur
stood on end fro" anger. )#h, you fright* 7isgusting and evil* =o one li!es you and no
one will "arry your daughter* Shes so ugly*+ @ro" Muffin, this sounded li!e the worst
The Miseries daughter pulled Muffin by the tail. )=o need to get "arried* I li!e you,
cat* Ill stuff you or "a!e a scarf out of you.+
In the "eanti"e, Missus Misery lit a s"all candle. )See this candle/ (hen it burns
out, youll all die. In the "eanti"e, Ill go put the cauldron on the fire. Try to guess
whose "eat were having for dinner today/+
Meanwhile, Masha and %oo!ar "ade their way
through the secret passageway behind the bro!en "irror.
0 spiral staircase carved in stone went up.
)(here are we/ 7o you understand anything,
%oo!ar/+ Masha whispered.
)=othing. 0h$choo* So "uch dust here* 0h$choo* @or
the first ti"e in "y life Ive beco"e a supporter of
0n ancient cobweb with a withered spider bloc!ed
their way. It disintegrated with one touch.
)It see"s that the Miseries didnt even suspect that
theres a secret door in the 2ave of Mirrors. I wonder how
"any years its been since so"eone was here/+ Masha
)0bout five hundred or... 0h$choo*.. a whole
thousand*+ %oo!ar could not stop snee;ing at all.
Masha and %oo!ar had hoped that they would find
the exit to the river. ,owever, the staircase led to a s"all
cave carved in the cliff. 0lthough they could see no visible
light source close by, it was "uch brighter in the roo" than on the stairs. Its interior
loo!ed unusually si"ple. 0 table, an oa! ar"chair, and a large boo! with a worn leather
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cover. The i"print of ti"e was on everything. The oa! ar"chair was crac!ed and
see"ed so decrepit that no one would dare sit on itB it could fall apart.
=ext to the boo! lay a s"all wooden stic!, polished to a shine with the touch of
so"ebodys pal". There was nothing "ore in the roo", only a des!, an ar"chair, a
boo!, a stic!, and the uneven ceiling arches.
)(here do you thin! we are/+ Masha as!ed %oo!ar in a whisper.
They stood still at the entrance. =othing prevented the" fro" entering, but they felt
a strange shyness.
)7oesnt it see" to you that here...+ Masha loo!ed uncertainly at %oo!ar.
)...lived the Lonely (i;ard, when he went to the "ountains,+ %oo!ar finished for the
)&ut wheres the (i;ard now/ 2ould he have left his boo! and wand here/+ Masha
as!ed. ,owever, her :uestion re"ained unanswered. The fate of the Lonely (i;ard
would forever re"ain a "ystery.
Masha approached the Lonely (i;ards table and, wiping off the dust, put a hand on
the boo! cover. It see"ed to her that the leather cover under her hand beca"e war".
Masha -er!ed bac! her hand in fear. %oo!ar and Masha stared fixedly at the boo!.
Suddenly it opened. Ti"e had no effect on its pages. The capital letters were beautiful
and ornate, as in ancient "anuscripts. The words in the rows did not separate. The
pages turned over by the"selves and rustled :uietly.
),eed the wisdo" of ti"e*+ a rhyth"ical and cal" voice suddenly rang out in the
cave. Masha loo!ed around in fear. She felt that so"eone was standing behind her.
,owever, there was no one. The sound was co"ing fro" the walls of the cave.
)It is I, Lonely (i;ard, spea!ing to you fro" the past* =ow, in "y final hour, the
future has been revealed to "e. I see all life on Aarth fro" the earliest ti"e to the last. I
!now that there will co"e a difficult ti"e in the history of the island of &uyan, and its
residents will loc! the"selves in their ho"es, fearful of the night. &ut a girl will co"e
flying on a dragons bac! to the island of &uyan and defeat the Miseries. 0 girl fro" the
big world* 'ead the spell on the last page of the boo!. The stor" will subside and the
Miseries will leave* 7o it and you will save your friends fro" the death threatening
the". &ut beware. you have only one try. If you falter at least once or "a!e a "ista!e in
at least one letter, all will be lost. <our friends will die and the island of &uyan will
forever re"ain under the authority of the Miseries...+
Lonely (i;ards voice fell silent. The boo! opened to the last page and Masha saw
the spell. It was written as a single word and it was :uite difficult to read. Masha fro;e.
She had to gather her strength and cal" down. Lonely (i;ards words were still ringing
in her ears, )If you falter at least once or "a!e a "ista!e in at least one letter, all will be
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)(indcloudstor"nightwillnotbeabletohelpit...+ Mashas ga;e caught on one of the
rows and she was frightened. #h, no* Is it really possible to read this without "ista!es/
,owever, there was no ti"e to be afraid. Masha started to read the spell slowly. She had
to focus to disasse"ble the connected words and not "a!e a "ista!e.
)The $orce o$ evil is not $orever,
It is *ossible to con>uer.
-ind, cloud, storm, night will not be able to hel* it.
The good $orce o$ battle $rom everywhere will chase it.
-ith the golden sword o$ $ire
-ill trium*h the day's glimmer)+
Masha had barely uttered the spell when the letters in the "agic boo! beca"e
blurred. &ut Masha was not certain that she had "ade no "ista!es, that she had not
"essed up or "issed anything.
0lthough the letters of the spell had disappeared, nothing "ore happened. 0ll the
things in the cave re"ained in their places. =othing betrayed the presence of "agical
)%erhaps we did so"ething wrong/+ Masha suggested ti"idly.
)Loo!*+ %oo!ar pointed to the wall across fro" Lonely (i;ards table. 0 passage
slowly opened. The solid stone crac!ed. 0 bright light unexpectedly shone through the
crac!. 0 golden sword lay in the narrow roc!y niche.
)(ow* (hat a glorious sabre*+ %oo!ar ran to the sword and tried to grab it by the
hilt, but he got burnt and blew on his fingers.
),eres a scabbard* Lets try to ta!e the"*+ Masha said, loo!ing closer. She had
barely touched the scabbard when the golden sword -u"ped into it and rang with
i"patience. Masha and %oo!ar loo!ed again fro" the threshold at Lonely (i;ards
retreat and started down the stairs...
(hen the Miseries captured Sviato;ar, Scholarch!in, 0lenush!a, the doll #lga,
Meown, and Muffin, @la"y was chasing the bats. ,e returned only when he understood
that the cowardly bats did not intend to attac! any"ore. @ro" a distance, he saw his
friends, tied up on the shore of the raging river.
Misery guarded the prisoners. Missus Misery was in the cave, finishing preparation
for dinner. She readied the sharp !nives and hoo!s for flaying "eat. ,er daughter was
"a!ing a fire. 'eali;ing that he could not "anage all the Miseries alone, @la"y hid and
began to thin! about how to help his friends.
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0fter waiting until the "onster went further away, @la"y beca"e invisible, snea!ed
up to the tied$up co"panions, and whispered, )7ont be scared, its "e, @la"y* Ill help
The doll #lga shrie!ed in surprise, )<ou
Misery heard the noise. )(ho else ca"e/+
he as!ed suspiciously.
)<our conscience ca"e*+ Meown said.
)2o$on$science/+ Misery drawled. )7ont
hold your breath*+
(hen Misery turned away, @la"y tried to
untie the rope with his teeth, but nothing ca"e
of it. ,e even turned into a pair of scissors but
still could not overco"e the "agic fetters. The
Miseries rope was enchanted. The !not in no
way wanted to yield.
)Ill definitely co"e up with how to help
you* &e patient*+ @la"y pro"ised.
The candle had burned down. Misery pic!ed
the sword up off the ground and touched the
blade with his finger in a business$li!e "anner. )@lic! and ready* <ou can decide for a
little while, who will die first*+ ,e showed his fangs.
)3ill "e, but spare the". Theyre !ids*+ Sviato;ar re:uested.
Misery stared at hi" with s"all eyes. )I" touched* The love of children has always
been "y wea! point. So be it. youll die first* @arewell to the warrior*+ Misery swung the
sword and...
)(ait* =ot everything is ready* &etter to coo! "eat fresh* 2o"e, help with the fire*+
@la"y yelled in Missus Miserys voice.
Misery lowered his sword. )<oure luc!y that I" a "odel fa"ily "an* If I dont
listen to the wife, shell ? ha$ha* ? coo! "e*+
Misery left and @la"y tried to burn through the rope. Eseless. @ire also did not
wor! on it, -ust as teeth had not wor!ed earlier.
)Meown* 7o you have anything to say to "e/ Its very li!ely that were going to die
soon,+ Muffin purred.
)Loo! at this fro" the other angle* Lets suppose I tell you what you want but "aybe
we wont die* Then Ill regret that I blathered so"ething unnecessarily*+ the cat Meown
)<es, were going to die* Say it*+ Muffin insisted.
)I wont* Meoow*+
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)&ut I say yes* Meooow*+
)<ou caterwaul here as under windows in spring* Muiet* Misery will hear* &etter roll
behind the stones* ,ide*+ @la"y got "ad.
The golden sword pointed Masha and %oo!ar to the shortest way to the friends. It
-u"ped out of its scabbard and cut the roc!s as easily as butter. The s"art sword led
Masha and %oo!ar through a bypass of the 2ave of Mirrors, where the Miseries were
boss. Soon they were already at the river.
)@la"y* #lga* 0lenush!a* (here are you/+ Masha called.
@la"ys head popped out fro" behind the nearest boulder. )Masha* %oo!ar* <oure
alive/ The Miseries bragged that not even a wet spot was left of you.+
)These Miseries are -ust inept. They dont co"plete anything,+ said %oo!ar. ,e
peeped behind the boulder and saw Sviato;ar, 0lenush!a, #lga, and the others. )(hat
are we doing/ %laying hide and see!/+ he as!ed.
The golden sword cut through the Miseries bewitched rope with one light touch and
-u"ped into Sviato;ars hand. )Lonely (i;ards sword* (here did you get it/+ the
delighted hero warrior exclai"ed.
)(e found Lonely (i;ards retreat in the "ountains* 0nd his boo! with spells*
(ell tell you everything later, but now we have to hurry* The Miseries sorcery "ust be
destroyed*+ Masha said hastily.
Sviato;ar raised the sword above his head and turned to face the raging river. 0t
that very "o"ent the stor" subsided. The wind had stopped tearing the "ulticoloured
foa" into shreds. The river as before separated into seven strea"s. Its stirred$up water
assu"ed clarity. 0n unusual silence set in.
Suspecting so"ething was wrong, the "onsters -u"ped out of the cave. Misery had
the blac! sword in his hands, Missus Misery had a fla"ing bough, and their daughter
had several large stones. #n seeing that Sviato;ar was free and Masha was alive, Misery
gritted his teeth. ,is red eyes flic!ered. ,e uttered a terrible spell. ,owever, his "agic
had lost power. ,owever "uch Misery tried, it was to no avail. 'oc! vaults did not fall
down on the heads of the friends, the river did not burst its ban!s, and the ground did
not gape under their feet. Aven the Miseries loo!s, deadly dangerous earlier, could hurt
nobody now. The "agic of Lonely (i;ard, who lived a thousand years ago, was now
stronger than the "onsters sorcery.
#n seeing the golden sword, the Miseries recoiled for a second. @ear was reflected in
their evil faces.
)(hy didnt I finish you off earlier/ <et, its still not too late to do it now*+ Misery
roared, rushing at Sviato;ar.
The golden sword and the blac! sword clashed. Spar!s flew in all directions. Misery
and Sviato;ar fought, putting all their strength into the blows. The outco"e of the battle
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was not clear for a long ti"e. &ut then Miserys blac! sword bro!e at the hilt. 2rac!*
Sviato;ar placed the edge of the golden sword against Miserys throat.
)7ont !ill "e* I surrender* (e all surrender*+ the "onster growled.
Sviato;ar tied up the Miseries with their own rope, which grew together right away,
having been shown a new prey. The "onsters gnashed their teeth. Their red eyes burned
with hatred.
Sviato;ar pic!ed up his hel"et, dropped during the battle, and, scooping up water
fro" the river, dran!. )(hew* This victory didnt co"e easily* Id be dead without the
golden sword... Than! you* <ou saved "e twice. fro" the endless sleep under the
waterfall and now, when you brought the golden sword,+ he said to the friends.
%oo!ar pulled up his pants. )=onsense* =o need for than!s* (ere used to feats.
(ere terribly heroic*+
0lenush!a loo!ed uneasily at the Miseries, ),ow do we deal with the"/ (e cant
leave the" in @airyland. Theyll go bac! to their old tric!s. To shut the" up in the
dungeon is too harsh. #nce showing revenge, we beco"e no better than the Miseries.
0nd they can escape...+
)(ait* So"ethings written on the golden sword* I saw this bac! in the cave but
didnt have ti"e to read.+ Masha loo!ed at the blade of the sword shining in Sviato;ars
)0ha*+ 0lenush!a bea"ed, after barely glancing at the inscription. )Lonely (i;ard
!new everything in advance. ,eres the spell that allows us to send the Miseries "any
"illions of years into the past. It opens the door of ti"e*+
)0 re"ar!able idea* They wont be able to har" @airyland fro" the past,+ Sviato;ar
0lenush!a outlined a circle around the Miseries with the sword and, loo!ing at the
blade, read,
)&ey, bli11ard, bli11ard,
Icy carousel)
9ou blow, whirl, and snow,
The +iseries in a ring you hold)
9ou know you are the one and only
(assage to the time o$ another)
A *assage with neither walls nor $loor.
-e are here, the +iseries there.
4et them live in the time o$ yore.
And now, bli11ard, bli11ard,
Forever close the door)+
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0lenush!a had barely finished reading when a bright light appeared in the cave, and
strange things began to happen inside the circle, where the Miseries were. &lurred
i"ages appeared and disappeared. @irst appeared a tree, then the sea, a green "eadow,
a cliff, then loa"y ravines. Ti"e reversed and pictures of long ago, visible and distinct,
appeared. Then the Miseries disappeared. The flic!ing circle faded.
)Thats all* Theyre in the past. Millions of years separate us*+ 0lenush!a exhaled
with relief.
)0nd they wont be able to har" anyone there in the past/ It wont turn out that
weve played a dirty tric! on our great$grand"as and great$grandpas/+ Masha suddenly
began to worry.
Scholarch!in flipped through his noteboo!. )I dont thin! so. 7inosaurs lived on
Aarth "illions of years ago. 0nd theyre so huge that they can stand up for the"selves.+
Suddenly %oo!ar laughed.
)(hats with you/+ Scholarch!in as!ed, pu;;led.
)I suddenly re"e"bered that... that dinosaurs beca"e extinct. 0nd I thin! I !now
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!ha"ter T*enty3#ne
,aving defeated the Miseries, the friends sat down on the raft and set off along the
river to Anchanted Ialley. Two ways led there. the first through the "a;e and the
"ountains, the second ? the river.
)Its safer along the river. Ive had enough of "ountains and "a;es,+ the doll #lga
)<ou forgot about the waterfall* ,ow do we get over it/+ 0lenush!a started to worry.
)Ive co"e up with so"ething*+ Scholarch!in showed the drawing in his noteboo!.
)(hat are the "agic "ar!s/+ Sviato;ar wondered.
)0 s!etch of a parachute. (e ta!e the "agic tablecloth, sew it into a parachute, tie it
to the raft, and go down the waterfall,+ Scholarch!in explained.
)<oure sure that itll wor!/+ The cat Muffin was uneasy. She re"e"bered the
enor"ous height of the waterfall and the sharp roc!s below.
)Theoretically it should wor!. 0lthough, of course, any experi"ent involves certain
ris!s,+ the gno"e cal"ed her.
(hile they were floating, 0lenush!a and Scholarch!in spread out the "agic
tablecloth and cast the "agnifying spell so that it beca"e bigger. Scholarch!in too!
scissors out of his briefcase and, before anyone "anaged to stop hi", :uic!ly reshaped
the tablecloth, giving it the shape necessary for a parachute.
)(hatll we tell &aba$<aga/ <ouve da"aged her best tablecloth*+ the cat Meown
was frightened.
)If "y experi"ent fails, well already no longer tell her anything* In general, its
trivial* Science de"ands sacrifice*+ The gno"e brushed it aside.
)&ut not hu"an* I agree to go through the "a;e*+ The doll #lga waved her hands.
,owever, it was already too late to change anything. The raft had been carried to the
edge of the waterfall. &efore slipping into the abyss, the raft fro;e for a "o"ent on the
edge, and rushed down fro" the "onstrous height. Averyone, even Sviato;ar, closed his
)Start the count* Three, two... =o, not li!e that. Three on a hair, three on a thread,
the thread brea!s, two. Two on a hair, two on a thread, the thread brea!s...+
Scholarch!in began to chant.
The sharp roc!s at the botto" ca"e closer and closer. )@aster, gno"e, faster*+
0lenush!a and Masha shouted.
)I cant wor! when I" rushed* =ow Ive lost count because of you* I have to start
over again* Two on a hair, two on a thread...+ Scholarch!in got upset.
The wind whistled in their ears. The hearts of the travellers fro;e in horror.
Scholarch!in lovingly tin!ered with the parachute, hu""ing so"ething to hi"self.
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Suddenly, Masha felt a strong -olt and a cloth do"e opened above the raft. It tugged
hard at the raft. The rate of fall slowed but the roc!s were still approaching too :uic!ly.
)7id I really "a!e a "ista!e in the
calculations/ 2ant be.+ Scholarch!in
started to worry.
0t the last "o"ent, the raft "anaged
to slow down and gently levelled out on
the water. (hile it was falling, the wind
carried it away fro" the cliff. The
waterfall was left behind.
The travellers opened their eyes.
)Scholarch!in, youre a lunatic*+
)=othing of the !ind* I" a genius,
although its one and the sa"e*+ the
gno"e protested.
0fter they passed the waterfall, the
"ain difficulties were behind the".
0lthough the 'ainbow 'iver changed
direction ti"e and again, s!irting
"ountains and roc!y shores, the raft
"iraculously "anaged to stay in the
"iddle of the river. The water raged and
doused the travellers with yellow, red,
green, and blue sprays.
)My dress has beco"e very colourful*
,ow a" I to wash it out now/ I" not
wal!ing around spec!led li!e a slob*+ the
doll #lga co"plained.
)Loo! at things si"pler* (ell rub it
down so"ehow with !erosene. True, itll s"ell oho$ho, but its not the worst thing*+
%oo!ar consoled her. I"agining how her dress would ree! if %oo!ar rubbed it with
!erosene, #lga al"ost burst into tears.
)7ont worry*+ 0lenush!a laughed. )(hen the water dries, the spots will disappear.
Indeed, its a "agic river and unpolluted. The water here is curative. (hen so"eone
here is sic!, we drin! the water* &lue for a chill, red for a runny nose, yellow for a sore
throat, and orange for rheu"atic pain.+
)(hich colour of water for 0'7/+
Masha as!ed. Avery winter she would catch
pneu"onia and sit at ho"e for wee!s.
0'7 stands for 0cute 'espiratory 7istress syndro"e, usually an infection of the lungs.
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)7ont !now. @irst ti"e Ive heard of the disease.+ 0lenush!a was at a loss.
)Thats -ust it,+ %oo!ar stated graciously. )<our fabulous "edicine hasnt even co"e
up with 0'7 yet. (hats there to say about such serious diseases as 20S/+
)(hats 20S/ (hat are you i"plying/+ The cat Muffin stared suspiciously at
%oo!ar threw up his hands. )<ou stupid, oh, stupid* <ou dont !now about 20S*
20S is 2ough and Snort. Scary nasty disease* #nly I dont catch it*+
)(hat do we do with you, :uilted fool*+ #lga said.
Masha too! a bottle out of her bag and filled it with water fro" the river for
drin!ing in winter if she caught a cold. She was a prudent girl and always loved to have
everything at hand when needed.
Sailing on the river was pleasant. The "ulticoloured water shone and spar!led
around the raft. It gently roc!ed and lulled the raft. The walls of the underground cave
widened and narrowed, separating first way up in the air, then along the breadth. <ellow
and red fishes played in the water. They were s"art and did not swi" close to Muffin or
Meown, although those two invited the" to chat about this and that.
They sailed for a long ti"e. The tal!ing raft did not rush and so"eti"es even
"oored to show the travellers so"ething interesting. @or exa"ple, roc! paintings.
)HLoo! there* 7ont loo! here* =ot enough to arrange a boring tour for us*+ %oo!ar
gru"bled, having once gone with Masha on a bus tour through the streets of Moscow
and al"ost burst with boredo".
In fact, %oo!ar only had ti"e to say this before the raft, long restraining itself,
started tal!ing in a lively wooden voice. )'espected travellers* Loo! to the left along the
course of "otion* (ere floating past the so$called &ig 2ave located in the central part of
the roc!y ridge of Lifeless Mountains. It stretches to the south for "ore than ten
!ilo"etres. The height of the ceiling in so"e places reaches thirty$two "etres. The
depth of the river ranges fro" three to four "etres. The flow rate is five !ilo"etres per
Scholarch!ins eyes flared up and he grabbed his noteboo!. Masha, @la"y, and
%oo!ar yawned in turn. @or so"e reason it always happens this way. if one yawns, the
rest will yawn after hi".
)7ear raft* (ere extre"ely tired and want to sleep,+ said Masha.
)(hy didnt you say so/ Ill sing you a lullaby*+ The raft was delighted and
s:uea!ed, )Lullaby and good night...+
There was nothing to do but to endure. To swear at the raft carrying the"/ The
travellers arranged the"selves "ore co"fortably, placed under their heads the "agic
tablecloth suffering fro" Scholarch!ins activity, and fell asleep to the crea! of the raft
and the splash of the river.
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'ainbow 'iver carried the raft all night and brought it out to a plain in the "orning.
Masha awo!e and saw patches of sun and the crowns of trees spreading out in the water.
)(ere in Anchanted Ialley* @la"y, #lga, get up :uic!*+ Masha shouted, pushing her
)I intentionally floated slowly* <ou were sleeping so sweetly,+ said the raft,
approaching the shore.
)Than! you, dear raft*+ Masha said.
The sun was already high. The delicate voice of a young nightingale developed in the
branches of a tree bent to the water. )<ou sang out of tune again. Ta!e it higher* 2ry
loudly* So, H(arble$tweet$tweet$tweet* ,ow "uch can one teach you/+ The tree taught
The cat Muffin stretched, washed herself, groo"ed her fur, and, only when finished,
ad"ired Anchanted Ialley. ),ow poetic* <esterday we were there, and today we are
already here* Muestion. where will we be to"orrow/+ she said with a thoughtful air.
Then Muffin as if recalling so"ething, loo!ed around, and -ogged in the direction of
Tal!ing @orest.
)(here are you going, Muffy/+ Meown was curious.
)There are :uestions which a wo"an doesnt answer*+ Muffin shouted, disappearing
into the bushes.
The first thing the doll #lga did upon wa!ing up was to chec! whether the colour
stains on her dress had disappeared. #n seeing that there were no spots, #lga sighed
with relief, )I drea"t that "y dress was left so spotty. It was -ust a night"are* Food
"orning, Masha* Food "orning, 0lenush!a* Food "orning, %oo!ar*+
)Food, good*+ %oo!ar "i"ic!ed, s"oothing his red curls with his pal". )0ny fool
can see that it isnt bad. =o need to say everything you thin!, stupid doll*+
)<ou -ust watch what you say*+ #lga too! offence.
@la"y went into the water for a swi". ,e snorted, splashed, dived, and once did not
surface for so long that Masha was scared. Then it turned out that @la"y had hid in the
reeds. 0lenush!a, having barely wo!en up, hurried to Ivanush!a.
),ow is he there without "e/ ,as he been languishing/+ 0lenush!a ran through
Tal!ing @orest to the cabin, where her brother Ivanush!a was waiting for her. She
wanted to surprise her brother, but the chatty trees beat her to it. Ivanush!a was already
hurrying along the path to "eet 0lenush!a. ,e hugged his sister tightly so that no one
would ta!e her away again.
The hero Sviato;ar also "ade up his "ind to go. ,e had "any friends in the forest.
)Food$bye* (ell "eet again*+ he shouted in farewell.
#n the way to 7ragon Mountain, the friends loo!ed into the ,ut on 2hic!en Legs.
&aba$<aga was up early. She had been digging in the garden since dawn and "a!ing
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noise with the pots. #n seeing the cat Meown, &aba$<aga gru"bled, )<ouve returned,
useless !itty* ,ungry, I suppose/+
0lthough &aba <aga gru"bled, it was felt that she was pleased with the cats return.
Meown snuggled up to &aba$<aga, but was already loo!ing as!ance with one eye in the
direction of his bowl.
Muffin coughed. )0he"* 7ont you want to share with "e/+ Sly Meown pretended
to be interested in the butterfly fluttering nearby and did not hear her.
)=ot inviting "e/+ Muffin repeated :uite loudly.
Seeing that he could not wriggle out of it, Meown sighed despondently, )#nly dont
eat it all*+
Masha, @la"y, and the doll #lga went up to &aba$<aga.
)I saw all your adventures* Its very li!ely the entire forest stared at the saucer with
"e* They were very worn out fro" the "any e"otional experience. So"e even fainted.
Tonight were having a feast, songs and dances. (ell "a!e "erry all night. =ow that
night and day arent scary* Fo, I dont want you*+ the old wo"an said.
@la"y shifted fro" paw to paw. ,e was eager to "a!e Ma"a and Frandpa
Forynych happy. =ot restraining hi"self, the young dragon set Scholarch!in, the doll
#lga, and %oo!ar on his own bac! and flew to the dragon cave. Masha could hardly !eep
pace with hi".
)/*en gate
-ith a key2lock,
And a golden kerchie$.+
@la"y ordered, and the "ountain
"oved aside. ,e :uic!ly ran along the stairs.
Frandpa Forynych was napping on the
couch in the living roo". #ne of his heads
was snoring gently and the other was
snuffling. @la"y fro;e on the threshold,
loo!ing at Frandpa. ,e caught his breath, as
if fro" strong pepper. #ne of Forynychs
heads wo!e up, saw @la"y, gasped, and
wo!e up the other head. The dragons, big
and s"all, rubbed each other with their
noses, and delightedly began to circle the
living roo" so fast that they al"ost bro!e all
the furniture. ,earing the noise, Ma"a 7ragon ran in.
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It is i"possible to describe what happened* Masha clung to the wall, while %oo!ar
and #lga hid under the table, because the whole roo" was literally full of enthusiastic
dragons, flapping their wings and whistling in happiness, al"ost bringing down the
@inally, the dragons :uieted down so"ewhat and were cal". 'ecalling that the
guests had not had brea!fast, Ma"a 7ragon began to bustle about and instantly covered
a huge winged table. Masha, @la"y, and the dolls cli"bed onto flying ar"chairs and
soared up to the ceiling.
)#ho$ho* #ho$ho* I havent treated "yself for a long ti"e*+ %oo!ar shouted
enthusiastically, grabbing a plate with sweet ca!es.
)Stop* (ait until everyone is seated at the table. 0ct li!e a decent person*+ #lga
pushed hi".
)7ont call na"es* <ou yourself are a person* 0nyway, where have you seen decent
people dining on the ceiling/+ %oo!ar too! offence.

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!ha"ter T*enty3T*o
#n the sa"e day and at the sa"e hour when the travellers were sailing 'ainbow
'iver after the victory over the Miseries, %iro;h!ov invited Misfit and 0vdo!hina to the
2hildrens Theatre. Mashas parents had not yet returned fro" St. %etersburg and Misfit
was living with the neighbour downstairs.
Since "orning, 0vdo!hina had "anaged to visit the hairdresser. She was behaving
abnor"ally. nervous one "o"ent, laughing the next, and was not the usual pain in the
nec! to Misfit.
)0nd why is she so dying to go to the theatre/ I never thought that 0vdo!hina was
such a theatre$lover*+ Misfit wondered.
,owever, for all that 0vdo!hina re"ained the sa"e, and when Misfit, out of
curiosity, put on lipstic! she had found on the dressing table, 0vdo!hina was terribly
angry. )<oure still too young to use lipstic!. Ta!e a nap!in and wipe it off*+
)&ut when will I be able to wear "a!eup/+ Misfit as!ed.
)(hen youre older*+
)0nd when will I be older/ (hen I" a hundred years old li!e you/+ Misfit was
curious. 0vdo!hina did not hear her. She was fastening a brooch to her dress.
)=ice to be an adult*+ Misfit drea"ed. )Ma!e$up even to the ears and no one will say
anything. &ut a child cant do anything. 2ant throw flowerpots out the window, cant
draw on wallpaper with a "ar!er, cant flood the floor and launch a boat. Its not life,
but a sheer lac! of rights*+
The perfor"ance began at two ocloc!. 0t precisely half past one, %iro;h!ov in a
white su""er suit pic!ed up 0vdo!hina and Misfit. ,e had grown a beard for a long
ti"e for po"posity, a little goatee, but very presentable. The beard grew, grew thic!er,
and fit into the i"age of %rince %iro;hevs!ii, "a!ing hi" loo! li!e a retired s!ipper.
)0re you ready for a cultural outing, dear 0ntonina %etrovna/ Then we can go*+
%iro;h!ov let Misfit and 0vdo!hina through to the elevator.
),ow are we getting to the theatre/+ Misfit as!ed.
)The subway, how else/ =ot by taxi*+ %iro;h!ov was sincerely surprised.
)The subway/+
Misfit forgot that Masha, for who" she was substituting, !new very well what the
subway was. @ortunately, %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina paid no attention to the girls
strange words. =ot having their own children, both genuinely believed that children
were allowed to as! stupid :uestions and do unpredictable things.
#n the way, %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina started a boring, very adult conversation
about pensions and prices. 0t first Misfit, according to her habit of fitting in, tried to
ta!e part in it, but she was soon distracted and started -u"ping on the sidewal! tiles.
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The subway a"a;ed Misfit less than she had expected. The dragon cave was also
underground and there was nothing particularly exciting about the ru"bling trains
disappearing into the tunnels. Misfit had seen a lot of "agic on the island of &uyan, and
in co"parison, the subway see"ed a very ordinary "iracle. The girl dragon li!ed the
"oving stairs "ost of all.
)(hats this s"art set of stairs/+ Misfit tugged %iro;h!ovs sleeve.
)7idnt your parents tell you/ 0n escalator*+ %iro;h!ov started a boring explanation
about electricity and horses sitting so"ewhere in the engine, but Misfit did not listen to
the end. She deftly -u"ped off the last step and stared at the glass booth, in which sat
the fe"ale station"aster on duty.
)(hy is a wo"an in the booth/ (ho is she/ The grand"a on watch/ Is she loo!ing
out so that no one will steal the self$"oving stairs/ ,ow "any !ilos of gold does she get
in a day/+ Misfit did not "anage to find out about the grand"a on watch because she
i""ediately had another :uestion. )(hy do the doors on the train open/ (ho says,
H#pen gate with a !ey$loc!, and a golden !erchief/+
%iro;h!ov co"pletely drowned in the strea" of childish curiosity and did not !now
what to answer, but then Misfit saw so"ething that interested and distracted her.
0t Maya!ovs!aya Station, three identical old wo"en entered the train. In the ar"s
of each old wo"an was a fat white lapdog. )(oof* (oof*+ the lapdogs bar!ed. ),ush*+
the old wo"en :uieted the". Misfit loo!ed nonplussed fro" one old wo"an to the
other. Axtre"e bewilder"ent was reflected on her face. @inally, she could not restrain
herself, approached the", and as!ed, )%lease excuse "e for bothering you* 2ould you
please tell "e which of you is real/+
)'eal/ (hat a funny girl*+ The wo"en roared with laughter and the lapdogs started
to yelp. Misfit wanted to chat "ore with the old wo"en but the train stopped. )Theatre
Station,+ a "echanical voice announced.
),ere we are* (e have to get off*+ %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina hurried her.
Misfit waved to the identical old wo"en. The lapdogs wagged their tails.
)(hat nice old wo"en* %erhaps, even princesses. The nobility of it, you !now,
"a!es itself felt,+ %iro;h!ov said to 0vdo!hina.
0vdo!hina, who also wanted to be counted a"ong the aristocracy, carefully
assented. 0s soon as they got out of the subway, Misfit i""ediately reached out to the
ice$crea" !ios!.
)=ot now* (ere late*+ %iro;h!ov said :uic!ly.
,e li!ely exaggerated so"ewhat here. The 2hildrens Theatre was :uite close to the
subway and they arrived even earlier than re:uired. @or the re"aining half hour,
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%iro;h!ov guided 0vdo!hina and Misfit around the 2entral 7epart"ent Store
to !eep
the" far away fro" all te"ptations li!e the theatre buffet and ice$crea" !ios!s.
)0nd what is the theatre/+ Misfit tried to find out fro" 0vdo!hina.
)The theatre/+ 0vdo!hina repeated the :uestion absent$"indedly. )7ont you
!now/ The theatre is the sphere of culture. 0 store, so to spea!, is the sphere of art, but
the theatre is the sphere of culture.+
)#n the theatrical stage, perfor"ances having serious educational significance with
socially useful "orals are de"onstrated,+ %rince %iro;hevs!ii added with an air of
Misfit was inspired. )0nd what shall I do in the theatre/+ she wanted to !now. The
young girl dragon did not want to "a!e any blunder during the perfor"ance.
)In the theatre/ In the theatre... uh... watch and draw the right conclusions. 0nd
then, act according to these conclusions,+ %iro;h!ov said, slightly disconcerted.
2loser to the beginning of the perfor"ance, Misfit, 0vdo!hina, and %iro;h!ov
entered the theatre and too! their seats. Misfit turned her head in all directions. She was
interested in everything. ,owever, the lights finally went out. The "usic began. The
curtain "oved to the side. The spotlight highlighted the stage. Misfit gasped, ),ow
)Shh* 7ont "a!e a noise* 0d"ire silently* 7ont prevent those around us fro"
ad"iring*+ 0vdo!hina ad"onished her.
So"e ti"e later three little pigs appeared on the stage, built houses, and began to
sing a little song,
)-e are not a$raid o$ the big bad wol$,
The big bad wol$, the big bad wol$)
-here are you going, stu*id wol$,
/ld wol$, scary wol$?+
The wolf, a paunchy "iddle$aged actor, did not !eep hi"self waiting and hid on the
stage so close to the pigs that it was even ridiculous how they did not notice hi". They
probably had proble"s with their brains.
)(e are not afraid of the big bad wolf*+ the piglets sang, getting unnoticeably closer
and closer to the wolf.
Misfit began to fret. It see"ed that the situation was beco"ing grave.
)I a" an expert in piglets*+ The wolf lic!ed his lips and -u"ped at the poor things.
The piglets barely had ti"e to hide in their own houses. ,owever, a house of straw
certainly could not stand the wolfs force. Terror fro;e on a piglets face.
The 2entral Eniversal 7epart"ent Store is one of the "ost fa"ous depart"ent stores in Moscow and
the largest fashion depart"ent store in Aastern Aurope, a fashionable and trendy place.
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)Save "e* So"eone save "e*+ the piglet yelled, brea!ing into tears.
#n hearing a plea for help, Misfit drew the definitive and irrevocable conclusion.
She darted fro" her seat and shouted, ),old on, piggy* Ill help you*+
0vdo!hina did not "anage to hold her bac!. Misfit had already cli"bed onto the
stage. The wolf stared at her in alar". ,e had fought with the piglets in "ore than a
do;en perfor"ances, but no one had ever co"e to their defence. Misfit slipped through
the window of the straw house and yelled at the astonished piglet, )(ell, what are you
waiting for, stupid pig/ To be eaten/+
The piggy bac!ed away. (asting no ti"e, Misfit leaned her weight on the door, so as
not to let the wolf enter. The bewildered wolf babbled, )Firl, ta!e it easy* 'eturn to the
audience* If I eat hi", I" only pretending*+
)=ot so bad for pretending* =ot li!ely* <ou thin! I dont !now how to pretend to
eat*+ Misfit replied.
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The audience, thin!ing that everything had been planned fro" the very beginning,
exploded with applause. So"e i"pressionable young "e"bers of the audience also
wanted to protect the piggy, and one boy even threw his "others handbag at the wolf,
but later they could not find it.
%iro;h!ov ran to the stage to drag Misfit off it, but she interpreted his action :uite
differently. She decided he was going to help her deal with the wolf. )(ell done, %rince*
2hallenge the wolf to a duel* Spill his guts* @ear not, little pig, now youll be saved*+
,owever, %rince %iro;hevs!ii dashed Misfits hopes. Instead of challenging the wolf
to a duel, he ran up to Misfit, swept her up in his ar"s, and raced to the theatre exit.
%iro;h!ov was even a"a;ed at how heavy a seven$year$old girl could be.
)%iggy, weve been betrayed* The %rince is in league with the wolf* 'un, piggy, run*+
Misfit yelled.
0n out$of$breath 0vdo!hina -oined %iro;h!ov and Misfit on the street. )<oure out
of your "ind* (ho taught you such nonsense/+ she attac!ed Misfit.
Misfit silently and angrily po!ed a forefinger in %iro;h!ovs chest. ),e did*+
),ow did he/+ 0vdo!hina was at a loss.
)(ho said, H(atch the perfor"ance, draw the right conclusions, and act according
to these conclusions/ So I acted. 0nd you/ ,ow could you leave the piggy in trouble,
Misfit pouted and turned away fro" %iro;h!ov. ,e clutched his head in his hands.
)Thats it, enough* I understand nothing* &ring up your own children* I refuse*
0bsolutely refuse*+
)%lease stop*+ 0vdo!hina cal"ed %iro;h!ov. )Shes -ust very i"pressionable and a
nervous child. She lac!s vita"ins. (hy dont we buy her bananas or oranges/+
%iro;h!ov recoiled in fear. )&uy/ =ot for the world* &etter !ill "e now*+

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!ha"ter T*enty3Three
( S$-,T$#$S FE(ST
)'esidents of @airyland* &ugs and coc!roaches, fussbudgets and slobs, bears and
el!s, welco"e to all* (e invite you to a feast for the whole world* 2o"e yourself, bring
friends, bring children*+ the trees and shrubs of the Tal!ing @orest repeated.
&y evening, all residents of @airyland without exception started to flow, crawl, and
wal! to gather in the Anchanted Ialley. It goes without saying, the guests were also
invited. ,ow could it be otherwise, if they were the real heroes, the saviours of the island
of &uyan/
)#h* Ive not one decent dress*+ #lga exclai"ed, on finding out about the invitation.
)Lie to the hilt* <ouve a suitcase full of all !inds of rags*+ %oo!ar silenced her.
)<ou understand nothing, so !eep :uiet* =ot a single evening gown a"ong "y
dresses*+ #lga sta"ped her feet and al"ost burst into tears. =o one had seen #lga in
this state before except that once, when the cat Muffin gra;ed the curtains in #lgas little
house with her claws. Aven Masha, though not expressing her feelings so openly, loo!ed
0lthough Ma"a 7ragon did not wear dresses, she was able to understand the cause
of the girls suffering and advised the" to turn to 7ra:uito.
)7ra:uito/ (hos that/+ Masha was surprised.
)0 hybrid of a dragonfly and a "os:uito. The best tailor in @airyland. ,e dresses all
the local 2inderellas and they "arry princes. 7ra:uito turns any barrel into a
)I" not a barrel* I have a beautiful figure*+ @or so"e reason the doll #lga was
offended, although no one had her in "ind.
)I would li!e a white dress*+ Masha beca"e e"barrassed.
)0 new red cap for "e,+ said Scholarch!in.
)(aterproof pants for us...+ the bunnies Sineus and Truvor as!ed ti"idly.
7ra:uito lived in a cosy burrow under the roots of an old oa!. )Flad to see you*
(hat clothes shall I sew for you/+ he welco"ed the guests.
7ra:uito was li!e a dragonfly with huge iridescent eyes, only his nose was long li!e
a "os:uitos and rese"bled a needle. ,e stitched with his long, sharp nose twice as fast
as and better than any sewing "achine.
)(hat would you li!e to order/+ 7ra:uito as!ed again.
)(ill it be very expensive/+ the doll #lga assed, worried.
),ow can it be* Averything is free for the victors over the Miseries*+
7ragonflies have claspers that loo! li!e huge stingers. There was an old "yth that they would see! out
bad !ids and sew their lips together with the claspers. 7ragonflies were !nown as the devil4s darning
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)(hat generosity*+ %oo!ar ran up to
7ra:uito and shoo! all his eight hands in
turn. )I ad"ire you* Indeed, its
e"barrassing to bother you... %lease, a
co"plete wardrobe of spring, su""er,
fall, and winter clothes for "e... 0nd
please dont forget that we defeated the
In order that %oo!ar, Scholarch!in,
and the bunnies would not suffer fro"
i"patience and interfere, 7ra:uito
:uic!ly sewed for the" everything they
as!ed. 0 few colourful caps for
Scholarch!in, a blac! tailcoat and shirts for %oo!ar, and waterproof pants and
hand!erchiefs of increasing si;es for the bunnies. Then he sent everyone pac!ing,
leaving only Masha and the doll #lga.
)In truth I love to wor! only on ballroo" gowns for pretty girls* Mens clothing, its
the prose of life...+ 7ra:uito rubbed his hands in anticipation. )I !now what dresses will
beco"e you best of all. Stand still and dont "ove, I need to ta!e "easure"ents.+
7ra:uito cut, sewed, fitted, and he""ed until the evening, whirling with cra;y
speed around Masha and #lga. The girls even began to worry that he would not "anage
to finish before the beginning of the festivities.
@inally, 7ra:uito stood still and loo!ed at the wor! of his eight hands and bea!.
)@airyland has never seen the li!e. Ive outdone "yself*+ he exclai"ed.
)That was :uite easy*+ %oo!ar whispered, pee!ing through a crac! out of curiosity.
@or the ti"e being 7ra:uito would not let Masha and #lga go to a "irror. ,e
straightened a lace ruffle, then fastened a bright flower to a dress. Masha and #lga were
burning with i"patience, but then, when all was ready...
)0h*+ they saw such beauties in the "irror that they al"ost gasped in delight.
#lgas dress was of seven rows of coloured lace, sil!y and shi""ering, li!e the
wings of a beautiful butterfly. 7ra:uito sewed a little velvet cap tri""ed with tiny
ge"stones to go with the dress. The shoes with gold buc!les adorning #lgas feet were
light and soft, si"ply created for dancing.
Mashas ballroo" outfit loo!ed da;;ling. It consisted of one "ost delicate long gown
e"broidered with rose petals and strewn over with pearls li!e dewdrops* 0 chaplet of
little pin! buds with a s"all transparent veil* 0nd satin shoes with two straps of little
pin! buds li!e those of the chaplet* 7ra:uito loo!ed long at Masha, then left without
saying a word, and returned after a while with a large brooch in the for" of a dia"ond
rose and pinned it to the belt of Mashas gown.
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)&all* &all* &all*+ 0t exactly nine ocloc!, an invisible bell rang over the Anchanted
Ialley. Tables laid with dishes for the "ost refined taste appeared as fro" the ground.
0n orchestra started to play.
The hero warrior Sviato;ar, in a new silver chain$"ail shirt, received
congratulations. #ne tiny centipede al"ost fainted fro" happiness when he gently
shoo! all of her forty hands, which also served e:ually as legs.
%oo!ar ca"e in his new tailcoat. The coat so"ewhat sagged on %oo!ar because he
put all the rubbish he had in his poc!ets. =aturally, they i""ediately bulged and
sagged. Scholarch!in, in a red cap, stood near %oo!ar and courteously exchanged bows
with all ac:uaintances, strangers, and creatures.
(hen the ball began, all the inhabitants of @airyland twirled around in a walt;. It
was an unforgettable sight. It was as if the whole clearing had co"e alive and begun to
"ove. #ne after another the pairs flashed by on the grass, lightly and gracefully... @airies
and elves, !ings and princes were dancing ti"idly. &ears and el!s, foxes and wolves,
s:uirrels and gophers were dancing next to the" with passion and s!ill. In the air, birds
in bright plu"age were flitting, and in the grass, beetles, "os:uitoes, and flies were
%oo!ar wavered and hesitated, then approached #lga and nudged her in the side.
)Lets dance. I" inviting you* #nly dont tread on "y feet. <oure as heavy as a tan!.+
#lga too! one critical loo! at %oo!ar. )@irst pull all the garbage out of your poc!ets.
<oure rattling li!e a tin can with nails. 0 tailcoat isnt sewn to hold a piece of iron.+
)I cant,+ %oo!ar sighed. )(hat if so"eone swipes it/ I dont trust these people.
Loo! at that s:uirrel* Its eyes are twin!ling so.+
),ow can you say that* This is @airyland*+ #lga was indignant.
)&ut people are the sa"e everywhere*+ %oo!ar gru"bled.
0t that "o"ent, the sa"e s:uirrel that had been loo!ing at %oo!ar approached hi".
The s:uirrel ti"idly touched the sleeve of %oo!ars coat with a little paw and :uietly
as!ed, )May I please have your autograph/ I saw on the "agic saucer how bravely you
fought the Miseries,+ and the s:uirrel handed hi" a piece of birch bar! and a pen.
%oo!ar blushed. #lga nudged hi" in the side. ,e too! the bar!, wrin!led his forehead,
and wrote in an uneven hand, &iroic gritings $rom (ukar. Luc!ily for hi", the s:uirrel
could not read.
(hile %oo!ar was signing the bar! for the s:uirrel, #lga sped off in a dance with a
ni"ble little house$spirit. The house$spirit was slightly taller than #lga and dressed in a
blue coat with gold buttons. %oo!ar sta"ped his foot in a fit of te"per, and then, having
shrugged his shoulders, started strolling along the clearing, his hands in his poc!ets.
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Masha was twirling in a walt; with a young prince who invited her, bowing s"artly
and extending a hand. Masha had never walt;ed before and did not !now whether to
accept, but then it turned out that it was si"ply i"possible to dance badly in the
enchanted clearing with wonderful "usic. Mashas s!irt e"broidered with rose petals
ballooned out in the wind.
)&all* &all* &all*+ a bell rang.
)&all of the seasons*+ the prince whispered to Masha. She felt the clearing slowly
begin to spin beneath their feet. Suddenly so"ething s"all and cold fell onto Mashas
chee! flushed fro" the dance. 0 snowfla!e* Then it was suddenly snowing heavily and
the girl felt a war" and soft coat of poplar fluff on her shoulders.
The snow "elted as :uic!ly as it fell, the coat of poplar fluff disappeared, and
spring, war" and beautiful, ca"e to the clearing with birdsongs and young leaves. 0fter
spring ca"e su""er. 'ipe, -uicy fruits fell into Mashas hands, and flowers grew to her
waist. 0fter su""er ca"e fall, golden$yellow, cri"son, the "ost wonderful fall that
Masha had ever seen.
The cat Muffin was walt;ing with the cat Meown. #r rather, Muffin was dancing
alone and Meown was la;ily shifting fro" one paw to the other and yawning. If not for
the gala dinner, Meown would have settled down to sleep long agoB instead, he had to
wait until the feast started. Muffin was laughing a lot and flirting with everyone.
),ow... I love... the walt;*** 0h, walt;, "y walt;***+ Muffin was singing.
)I told you not to drin! Ialerian* &ut you said, HFo away* Leave "e alone*+ Meown
0fter dancing, everyone proceeded to the "agic tables. There was a "o"ent of
sweet expectation, when no one was eating yet but everyone was already lic!ing his lips
in anticipation.
)(ait*+ Scholarch!in shouted. )(ait* (e have to give a speech befitting the
occasion. So that everything will be according to procedure.+
So"e residents of @airyland loo!ed at Scholarch!in with irritation, but his idea was
to the li!ing of others.
),ow is it done/+ Ma"a 7ragon as!ed. )In the sense of how is everything done
according to procedure/+
)@irst elect the chair"an, and then the chair"an will let so"eone have the floor,+
Scholarch!in explained.
Meown sighed, full of suffering. 7inner was being delayed.
)I propose to elect Frandpa Forynych as chair"an*+ @la"y shouted. ),es the
oldest inhabitant of @airyland. Aven &aba$<aga is younger*+
)I love fulso"e flattery*+ &aba$<aga sighed.
Frandpa Forynych stood up and cleared his throat, releasing a puff of s"o!e fro" a
nose. Averyone fro;e, waiting for what he would say. 3ings and tsars were dropping
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-ealous loo!s at each other. Aach of the" wanted to give the speech. Forynych thought
for a bit. Then his right head said, )0s chair"an, in order not to offend anyone, I give
the floor to "yself...+
),urray*+ @la"y shouted. )Frandpas been charged with uttering the sole"n
0 few of the tsars al"ost burst with envy but decided in the end that Forynych had
acted correctly. #therwise, they would all :uarrel.
)@or a long ti"e @airyland suffered because of the Miseries. They appeared at night
and deprived us of our will with their red eyes. They even cast a spell on the "ighty hero
Sviato;ar, lulled hi" to sleep, and i"prisoned hi" in Salt 2ave. =one of the residents
dared to show their noses outside their ho"es after dar!. They wal!ed around in fear for
their lives for the first ti"e in the history of @airyland. It lasted a long ti"e, but there
was a prophecy that @airyland would be saved by a girl not of these parts and by a young
)(hen Masha arrived, we didnt i""ediately understand what a great feat she was
destined to co"plete. &ut then, when she and her friends volunteered to go over the
Lifeless Mountains to the Miseries castle, hope appeared in the hearts of @airyland
inhabitants that the prophecy would co"e true. (e saw in the saucer how they
fearlessly "ade their way along the cliffs of Lifeless Mountains, how they fought off the
bats with a flashlight, how they strayed in the labyrinth, and how they wo!e the hero
Sviato;ar and defeated the Miseries. Than!s to Masha, a little girl, overco"ing her own
fear. Than!s to the cat Muffin and her sharp eyes. Than!s to Scholarch!in for his s"arts
and wit. Than!s to the brave %oo!ar and his inexhaustible poc!ets. Than!s to the
co""on sense of the doll #lga. @inally, than!s to "y grandson @la"y, 0lenush!a, the
cat Meown and the hero Sviato;ar, without who" there would be no victory. (e than!
the" with all our hearts*+
Masha and her friends were unco"fortable with all these praises. They shifted fro"
one foot to another and loo!ed at each other. #nly %oo!ar did not suffer fro" a surplus
of "odesty but felt li!e a fish in water. ,e bowed, handed out se"iliterate autographs,
and was eager to be photographed as a !eepsa!e, but, unfortunately, it turned out that
there were no ca"eras in @airyland.
(hile Forynych was tal!ing, several ti"es the cat Meown was on the point of
stic!ing his claws into a piece of fish on the table, but the cat Muffin re"ar!ed to hi" in
a whisper, )Stop* Its disrespectful* =obodys eating yet*+
Muffin herself listened carefully to Forynychs speech and found that not enough
was said about her personally and far fro" all her "erits were "entioned. )Theyve
forgotten that I first decided to go fight the Miseries. 0nd I noticed the hole in the "a;e
and saved everyones life*+ she said indignantly.
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0fter Frandpa Forynychs speech, everybody went for the food. Magical plates and
"ugs did not stay e"pty. #ne only needed to whisper, )3vass,+ into a "ug and !vass
would appear there. If one were to whisper, )#range -uice,+ then orange -uice would
appear, and so on. There was not a single drin! that the "agic "ug did not !now. The
sa"e thing happened with a "agic plate. It would be filled with any food "entioned.
Scholarch!in used up five pages in his noteboo! on the description of the "iracle$ware.
)<our plate !nows all the dishes/+ %oo!ar as!ed. )0h, here... Then let it coo! this for
"e. Ta!e two !ilogra"s of dried onion, a -ar of plu" -a", three crocodile eggs,
ver"icelli stuc! together, buc!wheat, and bone "eal, add fish oil and vegetable oil, salt,
sugar, pepper, and "argarine to taste. 2arefully roast all this thoroughly and let it rise,
then sprin!le with chocolate al"onds and ba!e through.+
)%oo!ar, -ust where did you co"e by your night"arish recipe/ This isnt by any
chance poison for coc!roaches/+ #lga as!ed.
)I invented it "yself. <oure probably -ealous of "e because you didnt thin! of it
yourself,+ %oo!ar boasted. )Loo!s li!e your plate cant "anage "y signature dish. Its
still e"pty.+
,owever, here on %oo!ars "agic plate appeared so"ething vaguely rese"bling a
ca!e, topped with chocolate and gla;ed with fish oil. %oo!ar lic!ed his lips and
swallowed the whole piece al"ost without chewing. @irst %oo!ars face showed nothing
except surprise, but then he winced and cried out, )Egh* ,ow disgusting* Its all the
plates fault, spoiling "y ingenious recipe this way*+
0fter the feast, &aba$<aga handed the guests so"ething shiny. )(e want to give you
golden tic!ets to @airyland. The one who has such a tic!et can co"e to the island of
&uyan whenever he wishes.+
&aba$<aga gave Masha, Scholarch!in, Muffin, %oo!ar, #lga, and the bunnies golden
tic!ets. The na"es of the friends were written on the" so that no one else could use
the". The guests did not even have ti"e to ad"ire their own golden tic!ets when
suddenly the owl @i"a arrived flapping her wings.
)The cacti are bloo"ing* <ou should see the radiance in the underground garden*+
Masha re"e"bered @la"ys words that all wishes would co"e true when the "ost
beautiful flowers in the world appeared on the cacti.
)Muic!*+ @la"y shouted. )(e should hurry* 2acti bloo" no "ore than once in a
hundred years*+
&uds of the "iracle cacti were opening in the underground garden. Eneven
flic!ering lights spanning all the colours of the rainbow were already flooding the stairs.
Large translucent buds on delicate legs shot up over the pric!ly balls of the cacti.
They were closed, but so"ething red, bright, and "ysterious pulsated in their very
hearts. The buds began to open before the eyes of the captivated audience. In the centre
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of the largest bud was a s"all chair. #n the chair sat a grey$haired old wo"an !nitting
stoc!ings with long !nitting needles.
),ello, hello.+ The old wo"an
lifted her eyes to the friends, at the
sa"e ti"e not stopping with the
needles. )I" the fairy of the "ost
beautiful flower in the world. 0nd Ill
fulfil your every wish. #ne for each of
you. &ut hurry, the flowers will
disappear in five "inutes. 0pproach
"e and as! what you want.+
)Fo*+ Ma"a 7ragon pushed
Masha to the flower. )Ma!e your
)I want everything to always be
well with "y parents, relatives,
friends, and "e,+ Masha said.
)So it will be,+ the fairy
pro"ised. )It will definitely be.+
%oo!ar went to the fairy next.
@or so"e ti"e he was thin!ing
whether he should let #lga or Muffin
through first, but then decided that it
was not worthwhile to spoil the"
)I want twenty pac!s of coo!ies,
a hundred -ars of -a", a bag of
chocolate, a thousand "illion dollars
in cash, a villa in 2alifornia and a
beautiful wife who will love "e and feed "e -a" with a spoon...+ %oo!ar started to
)(ait*+ the fairy stopped %oo!ar. )I can fulfil only one wish. Since you have "any
wishes, Ill fulfil the first one. ,ere are your twenty pac!s of coo!ies*+ The fairy waved
the !nitting needles and a stac! of pac!s of coo!ies grew by %oo!ars feet.
0fter %oo!ar was the doll #lgas turn. #lga opened her "outh for a long ti"e and
could not decide.
)(hats the "atter/ I see youre having doubts...+ the fairy as!ed.
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
)I cant decide what to wish for,+ #lga faltered. )#n the one hand, I would have to
as! for a peaceful s!y above "y head. &ut I want even "ore to add another roo" with a
fridge and a !itchen table to "y little Moscow house. 0nd hot water fro" the tap.+
)@ine*+ the fairy started to wave the needles. )Ive added a roo" with a fridge and a
table to your little house, but regarding the rest, wait and see.+
The cat Muffin touched the "agic flower pleadingly with a paw. )I would li!e to be
the first beauty a"ong the cats. 0nd all Moscow cats would fall in love with "e at first
)@ine, I understand what you want. So be it,+ the fairy s"iled.
The gno"e Scholarch!in as!ed for such a "ind and such a "e"ory that would
allow hi" to !now everything in the world.
)(ell, lets assu"e everything in the world is a lot,+ the fairy re"ar!ed, )but Ill add
The fairy did not even listen to the ti"id babbling of the bunnies Sineus and Truvor.
)I !now what you need. 0 little "ore courage and to grow up healthy,+ she said.
)#nly a "inute re"ains. Ti"e to fulfill the wishes of the dragons. Indeed, they
loo!ed after the "agic cacti all these years.+
The dragons barely had ti"e to utter their desires JMasha could not hear the", they
spo!e too softlyK, and the fairy fulfilled the" as the cactus flowers closed and
disappeared one after the other. The fairy waved her hand in farewell and disappeared.
),appiness to you all*+ she shouted in farewell. )(ell "eet in a hundred years*+

©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter T*enty3four
,R&%!ESS (%T#%&%( ,&R#0HEVS2(&(
Three days had passed. Mashas parents should have returned fro" their business
trip, but a telegra" arrived instead. 3ET03N %E4A9E% T-/ %A9S /.E9
)0ha,+ said Misfit, after rereading the telegra" several ti"es, )everythings clear.
HTwo days obey 0ntonina %etrovna... Two days have already passedB therefore, I already
dont have to obey her*+
The whole ti"e Misfit was living with 0vdo!hina, %iro;h!ov was a fre:uent visitor.
,e ca"e early in the "orning and did not leave until late in the evening. The prince sat
in the !itchen, devoured dairy products with an appetite, and told boring stories of his
life. They brought Misfits -aw to endless yawns, but 0vdo!hina listened to %iro;h!ov
sy"pathetically and agreed non$stop. )>ust how does she put up with hi"/+ Misfit
#nce, after %iro;h!ov had left in the evening, she could not help herself and as!ed
0vdo!hina, )(ill he be hanging around in our !itchen/ (hat, he has no !itchen of his
)=one of your business*+ 0vdo!hina got angry. )0dults dont need you to !now what
to do and what not to do... %iro;h!ov is actually :uite nice. #f course, hes getting on in
years, but, on the other hand, I" also no young girl...+ 0vdo!hina said this as if to
herself, absently guiding a pen on paper.
)%iro;h!ov is nice/+ Misfit nearly fell off the chair. ),es the bore of bores* Though a
,owever, it see"ed that 0vdo!hina did not hear her. She was loo!ing at the paper
on which she had unwittingly wrote, (rincess Antonina (iro1hevskaia.
)(ell, well*+ Misfit followed 0vdo!hinas ga;e, saw the writing, and was extre"ely
surprised. )%rincess %iro;hevs!aia* 0vdo!hina wants to beco"e %rincess %iro;hevs!aia*
I understand nothing, nothing at all*+
That evening, %iro;h!ov in a t$shirt, trac! pants stretched at the !nees, and tattered
slippers, fro" where his big toes were pee!ing out, was brushing his teeth before
bedti"e, when he suddenly heard a reproachful voice. )(hy dont you propose to
0vdo!hina/ <ou go visit her and bore her, but you dont want to get "arried. =ot good*+
%iro;h!ov turned sharply, wanting to see who was tal!ing to hi". &ut the bathroo"
was e"pty. Indeed, he !new that he was alone in the apart"ent and that his door was
loc!ed and chained.
)So, "y dear* =ot good* Marry 0vdo!hina, you hear, "arry her*+
)(ho are you/+ %iro;h!ov as!ed in a :uavering tenor.
)I" your inner voice*+
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jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
%iro;h!ov dropped his toothbrush and ran out of the bathroo". ,e rushed to his
roo" and hastily closed the door.
)<ou thin! its so easy to escape fro" "e/ (ould I be a good inner voice, if I could
easily be put behind the door* %ropose to 0vdo!hina*+
7espaired of escaping fro" the annoying voice, %iro;h!ov sat on the edge of the bed
and said pitifully, )I cant* 0ntonina %etrovna is a wo"an of good :ualities and I li!e her
very "uch, but I cant.+
)(hy not/+
)@or "y own life,+ %iro;h!ov explained, )I proposed nine ti"es and was re-ected
twelve ti"es.+
)&ut how can that be/+ the inner voice was surprised. )Since youve proposed nine
ti"es, it "eans you "ust have been re-ected nine ti"es.+
)0h, no,+ %iro;h!ov sighed. )The last girl re-ected "e three ti"es, although I
proposed once. H=o, no, no* she said. HI" still in "y right "ind.+
)%oor thing* &ut why not try the tenth ti"e/ Tens a luc!y nu"ber,+ the inner voice
)I cant bring "yself to* 0 tenth re-ection would !ill "e*+
)&ut you survived nine ti"es*+
)I was younger then...+ %iro;h!ov sighed.
)&ut you werent a prince then either* Try*+
)I wont.+ %iro;h!ov was being stubborn. )=ow if this were to happen so"ehow
unbe!nownst to "e, by itself.+
)Maybe everything will be so...+ the inner voice pro"ised "ysteriously. )Meanwhile,
buy flowers and dont forget to iron your pants.+
)@lowers/+ %iro;h!ov :uic!ly repeated. )(hy flowers/ I already gave her flowers
once. (hat, she lost the"/+
The next day, %iro;h!ov and 0vdo!hina were drin!ing tea in the !itchen and tal!ing
about the "ost insignificant topics.
)This su""er is wet, but last su""er was sunny. I" thin!ing this. if its wet one
year, then the next is sure to be sunny.+
)<ou cant tell, cant tell... So"eti"es its war" two years in a row. Luc! of the draw.
,ere I recall I went to a resortB i"agine, no rain for twelve days.+
Suddenly, the !itchen door crea!ed and opened.
)0 draft. I have rheu"atis"B draft are not good for "e.+ %iro;h!ov stood up and
shut the door tightly.
0fter a few "inutes, when 0vdo!hina turned for a "o"ent to the stove, where she
had crea" cheese panca!es browning, so"eone in the !itchen suddenly said, )I love
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
0vdo!hina nearly dropped the frying pan on her foot in a"a;e"ent. )7id you say
so"ething, %eter %etrovitch/+
)Me/ I didnt say anything*+ %iro;h!ov was crunching a coo!ie and heard nothing.
)It certainly see"ed so to "e,+ 0vdo!hina began to stir an e"pty pot slowly with a
)I love you, 0ntonina %etrovna*+ the raspy tenor sounded behind her again.
0vdo!hina gave a start and fixed her eyes on %iro;h!ov. ,e was sitting at the table,
pale and dropping cru"bs in his tea.
)<ou said it, I heard*+
)%lease repeat...+
)%$please, b$be "$"y w$wife*+ %iro;h!ov repeated desperately.
0vdo!hina beca"e as red as a to"ato, and al"ost sat on the floor. )Loo!, the door
opened again,+ she said.
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
!ha"ter T*enty3Fie
T# -#S!#/7
Masha spent several "ore days in @airyland. She swa", sunbathed, and visited
0lenush!a and &aba$<aga. #ne day, however, :uite unexpectedly for her, the girl
recalled their dusty Moscow courtyard, snow$covered with poplar fluff, and she wanted
to go ho"e to 0strada"s!aia Street. It see"ed to Masha that her friends would not
agree for anything to leave @airyland and return to Moscow.
=evertheless, she once saw the doll #lga anxiously exa"ining a clothespin she had
found in the poc!et of her own froc!. ),ow are "y flowers there in Moscow/ (ho
waters the"/ 0nd "y ho"e/ I dont re"e"ber whether I bolted it or not before we left/
(e were :uite bothered then,+ #lga shoo! her head, preoccupied.
,ere %oo!ar ca"e to Masha and #lga. )Strange that in @airyland they havent
learned to "a!e decent cherry -a". Lots of fresh cherries, but -a" ? not a spoonful*+
)(hats this youre saying about -a"/+ Masha as!ed.
)I re"e"bered that your grand"a is co"ing fro" E!raine and will bring -a",+
%oo!ar explained. ),ave you forgotten/ 0y$ay$ay* Its one thing to forget about
grand"a, but :uite another to forget about -a"*+
)Frand"a*+ Masha exclai"ed. )Frand"a should be co"ing*+ Masha loved her
grand"a very "uch and always waited for her arrival.
)(e also want to go ho"e,+ %oo!ar and #lga said. )(eve "issed our roo" and the
window loo!ing out onto Ti"irya;ev (oods*+
)'eally* I thought you wouldnt leave here for anything in the world*+ Masha
)=ow that we have a "agic tic!et, we can return any ti"e.+
They went to the cat Muffin to find out her plans. #ver the past days, Muffin was
spending all her ti"e with the cat Meown near &aba$<agas ho"e. ,owever, this ti"e
Masha, %oo!ar, and #lga found Muffin on a clearing near the cree!. ,er carefree face
loo!ed indignant and displeased.
)I reali;ed that Meown had no serious intentions regarding "e,+ Muffin "eowed
)(hat were his intentions, then/ Insincere/+
)=one at all* ,e would only eat and sleep* 0nd I wasted a lot of ti"e on hi"* =o,
enough* Ti"e to go bac! to Moscow*+
)To the du"pster cats/+ %oo!ar barely dodged a slap. )I recogni;e the for"er
Muffy* Loo!s li!e you wont die of love.+
0 woodland area and public par! in Moscow na"ed after 3li"ent 0r!adevich Ti"irya;ev J15L1$1D16K,
fa"ous 'ussian botanist and physiologist.
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)=o way* 7ont want to* 0nd what in essence is this Meown/ 0n ordinary provincial
cat*+ Muffin declared.
Scholarch!in and the bunnies Sineus and Truvor also decided to return to Moscow
with everyone. Scholarch!in had gathered a lot of "aterial in @airyland and now wanted
to write a boo!.
)I hope you wont tear "e away fro" "y research/+ Scholarch!in as!ed.
)(ouldnt drea" of it. The "ore you wor!, the less ti"e you have for "oral
teaching,+ said %oo!ar.
In the evening, when the whole fa"ily of dragons gathered in the living roo" by the
fireplace, the friends infor"ed the" of their decision.
)(ere leaving for Moscow. Frand"a should be co"ing. 0nd I "iss Ma"a and
%apa,+ Masha explained.
@la"y was terribly distressed. ,e turned away and pretended a spec! of dust was in
his eye. )'e"e"ber that you now have golden tic!ets.+
)(ell co"e to you very often and you to us. 'ight, @la"y/+ Masha stro!ed @la"ys
shiny scales.
The next day, suitcases pac!ed with gifts were collected. The friends went to &aba$
<aga, the hero Sviato;ar, and 0lenush!a to say goodbye to the".
)I never thought that I would be sad to say goodbye to you,+ %oo!ar declared, )but I
a" sad.+ The eyes and noses of Masha and the doll #lga were red.
)Food$bye, "y beautiful* %erhaps well "eet again*+ &aba$<aga !issed Masha on
the head.
)Food$bye, grand"a*+
&aba$<aga was clearly touched. )Its <aga,
but here youre calling "e grand"a*+
she gru"bled.
Muffin approached the cat Meown, who was lying in the dust in the sun, and said
carelessly, )>ust i"agine, I" going to the capital. ,ere, dont you !now, the cli"ate is
too cold.+
)'eally/+ Meown yawned. )(rite.+
)I dont thin! that Ill have ti"e for it. Ive so "any ad"irers in Moscow* They
si"ply give "e no peace. 0ll the ti"e wal!ing around, singing serenades, pleading...+
Muffin loo!ed sideways at Meown to chec! if he was awa!e. Meown was not asleep.
,e was listening benevolently to her, occasionally turning his other side to the sun.
)Freet your fans for "e,+ Meown said.
Ivanush!a and 0lenush!a were genuinely distressed and only cal"ed down a little
when Masha pro"ised to co"e to @airyland for vacations.
)(ell wait* (hen do you have vacations/+
The 'ussian word yaga "eans a witch, an ugly, evil, old wo"an.
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)@all vacations usually in the fall and winter ones in winter,+ %oo!ar explained.
)0lthough theyre never the sa"e twice.+
)Loo! whos tal!ing* <ou, %oo!ar, are on eternal vacations,+ #lga chuc!led.
In the second half of the day, towards evening, the dragons with Masha, Muffin,
Scholarch!in, %oo!ar, and #lga, as well as the bunnies Sineus and Truvor on their bac!s
"ade a circle over the island of &uyan and headed to Moscow. The friends did not sleep
on the return -ourney, and while the flight lasted, they loo!ed down over the ocean. They
flew through the white cotton clouds. 0 bree;e blew pleasantly on their faces.
They were in Moscow about an hour to "idnight when Mashas "a"a and papa
were already asleep. #n seeing @la"y and Ma"a 7ragon, Misfit was very happy. =o
"atter how good it was for her, she "issed the island of &uyan no less than Masha
"issed her ho"e.
=ow Masha was in her own roo" again. Averything here was as before. =othing had
changed during her two$wee! absence.
The doll #lga ran to her own little house on the windowsill and opened the door.
0lthough the roo" loo!ed clean and very tidy, #lga i""ediately decided on a general
cleaning. )So "uch dust, dust*+ #lga happily grabbed the broo".
7espite the late hour, Scholarch!in ran to the attic to write his boo!. ,e stated that
night awa!ened his scientific inspiration.
The first thing %oo!ar did was crawl under the bed, where he discovered to his
solace that the -ar of -a" he had hidden was whole and unhar"ed.
),ow did everything go/+ @la"y as!ed Misfit. )=obody noticed Mashas absence/+
)#n the contrary, everyone noticed her presence. Aven those who had never noticed
it before,+ Misfit said.
)Ma"a and %apa didnt suspect anything/+ Masha was uneasy.
)=o. They only -ust returned fro" a business trip today. 0nd to"orrow your
grand"a will arrive. %ity that I wont have ti"e to "a!e her ac:uaintance.+
)Stay,+ Masha suggested. )&e our guest a bit longer.+
)I cant any"ore,+ said Misfit. )I thin! for such a relatively s"all city li!e Moscow,
one Masha is "ore than enough.+
The friends said goodbye. Masha, the doll #lga, and Muffin hugged Misfit and
@la"y and wished the" a good trip to @airyland. The trip was indeed good and passed
without adventures. %oo!ar, Scholarch!in, and the bunnies patted @la"y on the
shoulder, leg, and tail, wherever they could reach.
The young dragon turned towards the balcony, shouted, )Foodbye*+ and was about
to ta!e off, but Masha called to hi". )@la"y*+
)<es/+ @la"y turned around.
)(hat do you thin! if so"eone were to write a boo! about us, the place where we
parted ? would it be sad/+
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
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)=ot really,+ @la"y said. )(e arent parting forever. <ou have a "agic tic!et and
you can visit us in @airyland any ti"e.+
%oo!ar also heard Mashas :uestion. ,e slipped his ar" up to his shoulder into the
-a" -ar and finished off the rest to the very botto". )I" willing to bet that the saddest
place in the boo! would be the parting with "e,+ he declared. )0ll the children would be
sobbing in three strea"s. The girls and boys would want to "eet "e again and send
letters and telegra"s. %ear (ookar) Come visit us) 0 -ar of cherry -a" without pits
would acco"pany every letter. Its a waste of ti"e spitting out pits, I a" too busy a
person for that*+
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og
©Jane H. Buckingham 2014
jhbuckingham@yahoo.ca https://twitte.com/tans!ato"#og

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