October 12, 2016

Fall, Tolstoy, Mushrooms


Fall, Tolstoy, Mushrooms
The great writer telling children a story.

In honor of fall, and Russians' favorite autumnal pastime – mushroom picking – we offer these two short stories by Lev Tolstoy, from his "Azbuka" stories. The translations are by Robert Blaisdell. 

The Girl and the Mushrooms

Two girls were going home with their mushrooms. They had to cross the railroad tracks. They thought the engine was far off and climbed onto the embankment and were walking across the rails. Suddenly came the sound of the engine. The older girl ran back, but the younger one ran across the tracks. The older girl cried out to her sister, “Don’t come back!”

But the engine was so close and roaring so loudly that the younger girl didn’t hear it all; she thought she was told to come back. She ran back across the rails, stumbled, dropped the mushrooms and began picking them up.

The engine was already so close and the engineer whistled that it was going full speed.

The older girl cried out, “Throw away the mushrooms!” but the little girl thought she was told to gather the mushrooms and crawled along the tracks.

The engineer couldn’t hold back the engine. It whistled with all its might and went right over the girl.

The older girl cried out and wept. All the passengers looked out from the carriage windows, and the conductor ran back to the end of the train to see what became of the girl.

When the train passed on a distance, everyone saw the girl between the rails, head down and not moving. Then, when the train had gone on further, the girl raised her head, hopped onto her knees, gathered up the mushrooms and ran off to her sister.

ДЕВОЧКА И ГРИБЫ (Быль)

Две девочки шли домой с грибами.

Им надо было переходить через железную дорогу.

Они думали, что машина далеко, взлезли на насыпь и пошли через рельсы.

Вдруг зашумела машина. Старшая девочка побежала назад, а меньшая — перебежала через дорогу.

Старшая девочка закричала сестре: «Не ходи назад!»

Но машина была так близко и так громко шумела, что меньшая девочка не расслышала; она подумала, что ей велят бежать назад. Она побежала назад через рельсы, споткнулась, выронила грибы и стала подбирать их.

Машина уже была близко, и машинист свистел что было силы.

Старшая девочка кричала: «Брось грибы!», а маленькая девочка думала, что ей велят собрать грибы, и ползала по дороге.

Машинист не мог удержать машины. Она свистала изо всех сил и наехала на девочку.

Старшая девочка кричала и плакала. Все проезжающие смотрели из окон вагонов, а кондуктор побежал на конец поезда, чтобы видеть, что сделалось с девочкой.

Когда поезд прошел, все увидали, что девочка лежит между рельсами головой вниз и не шевелится.

Потом, когда поезд уже отъехал далеко, девочка подняла голову, вскочила на колени, собрала грибы и побежала к сестре.

How the Boy Told How a Thunderstorm Caught Him in the Woods

When I was a boy I was sent to the woods for mushrooms. I reached the woods, collected mushrooms and wanted to go home. Suddenly it got dark. It began to rain and thunder. I was scared and sat under a big oak. The lightning flashed so brightly it hurt my eyes and I winced. Something cracked above my head and thundered, then something hit me in the head. I fell and lay there until it stopped raining. When I came to, through the whole forest the trees were dripping, the birds were singing and the sunlight was playing. The big oak was shattered and smoke was coming from the stump. Splinters from the oak lay around me. My clothes were all wet and sticking to my body. I had a bump on my head and it hurt a little. I found my hat, grabbed the mushrooms and ran home.

Nobody was home. I took some bread on the table and crawled onto the stove. When I woke up I saw from the oven that my mushrooms were cooked, placed on the table and they were wanting to eat.

I cried out, “You’re eating without me?”

They said, “Weren’t you sleeping? Come on and eat.”

КАК МАЛЬЧИК РАССКАЗЫВАЛ ПРО ТО, КАК ЕГО В ЛЕСУ ЗАСТАЛА ГРОЗА (Быль)

Когда я был маленький, меня послали в лес за грибами. Я дошел до лесу, набрал грибов и хотел идти домой. Вдруг стало темно, пошел дождь и загремело. Я испугался и сел под большой дуб. Блеснула молния такая светлая, что мне глазам больно стало, и я зажмурился. Над моей головой что-то затрещало и загремело; потом что-то ударило меня в голову. Я упал и лежал до тех пор, пока перестал дождь. Когда я очнулся, по всему лесу капало с деревьев, пели птицы и играло солнышко. Большой дуб сломался, и из пня шел дым. Вокруг меня лежали оскретки от дуба. Платье на мне было всё мокрое и липло к телу; на голове была шишка, и было немножко больно. Я нашел свою шапку, взял грибы и побежал домой. — Дома никого не было, я достал в столе хлеба и влез на печку. Когда я проснулся, я увидал с печки, что грибы мои изжарили, поставили на стол и уже хотят есть. Я закричал: «Что вы без меня едите?» Они говорят: «Что ж ты спишь? Иди. скорей, ешь».


Translations into English by Robert Blaisdell, a professor of English at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) in Brooklyn, New York.

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