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Сказка про Федота-стрельца, удалого молодца

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Leonid Filatov
A fairy tale for stage performance
(based on the Russian folklore).
Translated by Alec VAGAPOV
Believe it or not,
once there lived soldier Fedot,
and this is the tale of the daring fellow.
He was neither handsome nor a fright,
neither wealthy nor hard up,
neither ragged nor dressed up,
neither pale nor ruddy-faced,
he was so-so,
quite commonplace.
Fedot's mission
was hunting and fishing.
The Tsar had fish and game,
Fedot had thanks and that was his gain.
The Tsar's palace
was crammed with travellers.
One was a Greek,
another Hawaiian,
a third was a Swede,
and they all needed a feed!
One wanted lobsters,
another wanted oysters,
a third wanted a prawn
while the catcher was only one.
One day Fedot was ordered
to come to the court.
The Tsar was the shrimp of a man,
his head like a little onion,
while his malice
could fill the whole palace.
He looked at Fedot as if to say:
"I can't stomach you anyway".
Out of dread Fedot turned wet,
his ears started ringing,
his guts gave way,
and here's the beginning
of the tale, so to say.
The British envoy has come for
Our refreshment after night before,
While we only have to eat
Stale bread, a bone... and that's it!
You must go and bring some food,
Something special, something good,
Say, a partridge, or a grouse
Or whatever, from the wood.
If you can't do that, my dear,
I shall have to execute you, hear?
It's a matter of importance,
A state affair, is it clear?
Yes, of course, I understand,
I'm wise enough for that,
A stupid bumpkin I'm not,
And I do know what is what.
Well, as far as I can see,
I make all the policy,
If I fail to shoot a grouse,
There will be a war on us.
To content the British guest
I shall do my double best,
Even at the cost of life
I'll procure some food-stuff.
The Tsar's word
is as firm as wood:
if he says: "Go bear hunting",
you will go bear hunting.
What else can you do?
You just have to!
Fedot had covered the ground
of a hundred of woods and bogs around.
Alas, there was neither
a partridge nor a grouse!
He was all in, dog-tired,
and it was almost night.
He had nothing in the bag,
yet it was time to go back.
Suddenly, as if in a vision,
he saw a bird, a little wood-pigeon.
It didn't try to hide
showing no sign of fright.
What affliction! What a shame!
There isn't any trace of game.
Pr'haps that's the bird I have to shoot,
It's at least some kind of food!
They say pigeon meat is bad,
I should not agree with that,
When you have it with a sauce
It's like a grouse, or not worse.
Please, don’t hurt me, dear Fedot,
It’s quite worthless, is it not?
Just one bird is not enough
For a dish or pillow stuff.
Your foreigner might like to eat
Some kind of very special meat,
Whereas my meat’s just enough
To make a wild cat laugh.
Is the goblin somewhere here?
Are these tricks of the evening air?
Is there anything the matter
With my eyes or with my ear?
Has the Tsar decreed
That pigeons
Should now speak
Like human beings?
Don't do wrong to me, Fedot,
Take me home, and you know what:
When you bring me to your chamber
I shall be your destined lot!
I shall sew and wash and cook,
Never give you a rebuke,
I shall keep the house clean,
And I'll play the violin!
What a story, what a gag!
All right, get into my bag,
When we get home I'll find out
What this trick is all about!
Fedot  brought the bird
to his room
and sat there hanging his head,
filled with gloom.
He was really sad,
and there was a reason for that.
His game hunt hadn't come off,
and it was no joke –
Сказка про Федота-стрельца, удалого молодца

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