A twice funny tale


Pelagaeya is probably our most avid reader of books.  She devours them like cakes (in both Russian and, now, in English).  She wrote her first story for InterestEng. in 4th grade. She’s now in grade 9 and has acquired a love of translating. Here she translated an old Russian fairy tale for us . . . two times.  It came about after Pelagaeya told her English teacher about an old tale still loved today for its cleverness. The tale was told first as, The Weather was Awful but the Princess was Wonderful—and then retold with key elements made into their opposites for the humor that resulted.  (The Princess was Awful but the Weather was Wonderful.)  Here Pelagaeya and her teacher tried such an exercise . . . and learned it’s not as easy as it seems!      

  Story #1: An egg for breakfast  [The original story translated by Pelagaeya.]

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ONCE there lived a kind, old grandfather and grandmother. They had a small, speckled chicken who loved Grandfather and Grandmother very much. Every day she laid one nice, tasty white egg which Grandfather and Grandmother shared for breakfast. But one day she laid a golden egg!  

     Grandfather tried hard to crack the egg but he couldn’t.  Then Grandmother tried carefully to crack the egg but she couldn’t.  Just then a clever little mouse ran quickly across the table, grabbed the golden egg and ran off with it!  

     Grandfather cried and said, “Ah, we don’t have an egg for breakfast this morning!” Grandmother cried and said, “Oh, it was such a beautiful egg! How sad we cannot eat it now.”  Their kind, little chicken said, “Don’t cry, Grandfather!  Don’t cry Grandmother.  I will lay another egg tomorrow.”  

     The next day she laid a nice, white egg and everyone was happy.

     Story #2: A goose for dinner [The “retold” version by Pelagaeya and her teacher.]

Mottled Hen2

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ONCE there lived a kind, old grandfather and grandmother. They had a huge, naughty goose (who was always grubby) and who loved to play tricks.  Every day she laid some big, strange egg!  One day she laid a lead egg and, the next, a purple plastic egg.  She never laid an egg you could eat. Still, Grandfather and Grandmother were very kind and so they never got mad at her. But one day, when that naughty goose laid a great golden egg, Grandfather said, “Enough of your tricks! We’re going to eat you tonight!” 

     The goose was shocked!  “Eat me?!”  She jumped on the table and pushed the egg with her beak. The egg started to roll and roll and roll until it fell off the table . . . and hit the floor with a THUD!   

     Grandfather cried and said, “Oh my!  It’s a real golden egg!” Grandmother cried and said, “We’re rich!” 

     That night they had a tasty goose dinner and lived happily ever after.

Editor’s note:  The cartoon version below of the original story, while in Russian, is still under- standable and fun for its colorful and clever illustrations.

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com