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Friday, 4 March 2011

Fairy-Tale Friday: From Russia with Love #9

Each week Irena @ This Miss Loves To Read hosts Friday is for Fairy-Tales.

It is an opportunity to share a love of the fairy-tale genre throughout the blogosphere and discuss your favourite character, your childhood memories, new authors and all time favourites. You can find out more by visiting her POST.

Ever since I read Marcus Sedgwick’s Blood Red Snow White, I have wanted to read Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales. If you’ve read Blood Red, you’ll understand why. If you haven’t, then I suggest you add it to your wish list. I never realised how poetic fairy-tales could be until I read it.

So I am going to read one of Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome each week and then share it with you here.

Post 1: The Hut in the Forest, The Silver Dish and the Transparent Apple
Post 2: Sadko
Post 3: Frost
Post 5: Baba Yaga
The Stolen Turnips, the Magic Tablecloth, the Sneezing Goat and the Wooden Whistle

This one is a corker!

The once was an old man and an old woman. They lived together in a hut. The old woman was always scolding the old man. She made him work so hard around the hut and was never satisfied or grateful for his hard labour.

One day she had an idea. She wanted to grow some turnips. But the garden was already full of vegetables so she made the old man sow soil on the flat roof. He had to lug the heavy soil up the rickety old stairs. But he did it and he began growing the turnips. The old woman was on and on at him to make them nice and ripe.

But then one day some of the turnips were stolen. The woman scolded the man for not taking care to make sure they were safe. The old man knew he had bolted the door so it was a mystery. Then he discovered these mysterious faces in a hut in the forest and guessed that the strange children had stolen the turnips. He asked them if they did and they readily admitted it. They said they would pay the old man so he didn’t scold them. They gave him a magic tablecloth that made an instant feast at the right command. He went home and gave it to his wife.

She – being a selfish and greedy sort – switched the magic tablecloth for an old one and so the old man couldn’t have a nice bite to eat. When they discovered more turnips were missing, she sent him off to beat the children. But again they offered to pay him for the turnips and they gave him a goat that sneezed gold. Aichoo!

He took the goat home and gave it to his wife. She hid it in the forest because she didn’t think he deserved any money. Then of course, more turnips had been stolen. There were now hardly any left. The old man went to the children and they paid him with a whistle. When he blew into it, the whistle grew whips and beat him. It made him sore but only for a while. He took it home and gave it to his wife. She blew into the whistle and it beat her something chronic. She begged him to help her and he did. Then of course she promised to never scold him again. She returned to him the tablecloth and the goat.

But the next day, she had forgotten her promise. She scolded her husband. She decided she wanted to see the turnips on her roof but she couldn’t manage the stairs. She moaned and scolded until he agreed to carry her up the stairs in a sack. Because he needed to hold the rails, he carried the sack in his teeth. The wife kept asking “are we nearly there yet?” Just as they were reaching the top, the old man gave in to her moaning. He answered her question and the sack left the grip of his teeth. The old woman fell to her death. She never saw her beloved turnips and the man lived a happy life with food from the tablecloth, gold from the goat and company from the children when he got lonely.

This story made me laugh so much. If ever there was a warning for me not to nag my husband, this must be it. Who else thinks those children were a little twisted to give him the whistle? And cor blimey governor, Russians must have strong teeth!


Asamum said...

I love it :D :D I could really do with that tablecloth and goat.
I just adore this feature :D

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

haha Now this story is something else! The husband finally found his peace.:) This one had me laugh. I guess all ended well.:)

Thank you for the post, Becky!

Bookworm1858 said...

The wife reminds me of The Fishermen and His Wife. I like when the titles of the stories pretty clearly lay out the main objects in the story. Although the children are a bit mysterious-they have a tablecloth that feeds them and a goat that sneezes gold but they steal turnips?! Weird. I guess that's why it's a fairy tale.