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: лI 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: лgo 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.

PrТhaps thatТs 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 Ч the Tsar would chop off his head right off. So he sat in grief taking his leave with the whole wide world. He remembered the vision of the little wood-pigeon. He looked up and, instead of the bird, he saw a young woman in the middle of the room, a maid full of splendour, so gracious, so slender!



Hello, Fedya, from now on

You and I will get along,

I'm Marusya, your good wife,

Or should I say, your better half.

Why are you silent? Have you got

A bone or something in your throat?

Maybe, you don't like my head-dress,

Or, maybe, you dislike my coat?



There is nothing I won't do

To admire you and be with you,

But I don't think that I can

Marry you and be your man.

See, this morning I was called

To the Tsar, and I was told

To get, you know' a sort of a grouse

'nd bring it to the Royal house.

Though it's not a hunting season

With the Tsar it's hard to reason,

Then I thought, all right, a grouse

Is not a bison, so it's easy.

I have tramped the woods all day

But was out of luck today:

There was not a single game bird,

Nothing good came in my way.

So there isn't any chance

That I go out for a dance,

When I see the Tsar tomorrow

He'll chop of╗my head at once.

Without my head... , well, I don't think

That I'm good for anything,

For it's my mind that makes the meaning

And the essence of my being!



Now, don't worry, don't complain!

You will have the meals and game.

Stand before me, Frol and Tit,

Get immediately what we need!


(Marusya claps her hands, and two burly fellows appear in front of her.)


Do you hear what I say?

Go and do it without delay.



You don't have to doubt us,

We have done it many times!



Meanwhile the Tsar and the envoy are sitting at the table. Look who's there to join them! Yes! It's the Nursemaid and the princess! All are waiting for the game Fedot promised to obtain. Now the table is empty Ч no meal. There are cabbages and dill, parsley, carrots, roots of beet, and that's all there's to it.

The guest looks bored; he sits dangling his foot and watching the holes on the table cloth. The Tsar is boiling hot, swearing and cursing аsoldier Fedot. Suddenly, Ч oh my! Ч as if from the sky, there come a loaf of bread and an apple pie, a bucket of caviar, stewed turkey, giblets, sturgeon soup, fishes and a thousand more of such-like dishes. With dainty like that, isn't it nice to have a chat?


I am interested in

Your technology of seedin':

Do your farmers skin the swedes

When they plant them in the fields?






I'm interested in

Your daily eating routine:

Do your people have their cocoa

With or without saccharine?






Then there's another thing

That I'm interested in:

Do your women wear knickers,

Something underneath, I mean?






Are you crazy? Shame on you!

Think whom you are talking to!

Women is the subject you

Turn all conversations to!



Will you shut up, be so kind.

If you don't, I'll jail you, mind!

It's not an idle talk, you see?

It's my foreign policy!

Look, she's quite a big lass

But she is as thin as a lath!

So I'm thinking, if we can

Marry her to this here man.

To entice him we must act

Very cautiously, with tact,

Talking round, making hints,

Trying not to hurt his feelings.



Not even I Ч not for your life! Ч

Would really want to be his wife,

All he has in mind is try

And swallow something on the sly!

лYes╗is all he is repeating,

While he never ceases eating,

Close your eyes, and he'll devour

Half of Russia, at one sitting!



Keep your mouth shut, my dear,

Or I'll kick you out of here.

You have scared all the envoys,

All the aliens, as it were.

There was a Spanish grandee,

He was a fop! A real dandy!

Bedecked with diamonds, he made

A perfect party for our maid.

What you did you sat our friend

Down on a nail, лby accident╗.

Consequently the guest has

A strong bias against us.



I remember that Spaniard,

I recall he ate like mad,

He was so absorbed in eating

That he smudged his bow in fat.

No matter what you asked him he

Would keep parroting: лsi, si╗

While he would indulge in eating

Our herring ivashi!



Stop it now! Or you'll wind up

Rotting in a prison camp!

I'm quite serious!.. Don't think

That I 'm talking tongue in cheek.

The German baron that we knew

Was good from every point of view.

Yet you did your best to hurt him

And offend him, didn't you?

Wasn't it you who worked him up,

By putting a mouse in his cup?

You are a wicked, vicious woman,

A god damn treacherous thing, a vermin!



Well, your baron was quite good,

Good at eating our food,

Put him in a flock of ravens,

He will fight them like a brute!

Looking proud, talking big,

He's voracious like a pig.

He would even gobble hay

If he didn't have to pay!



You just wait, there's every reason

To deliver you to prison.

I'm not cruel, but I've no use

For you spies and evil doers!

Tell me, are there any ways

of marrying of╗our princess?

Don't you know, there aren't many

Eligible men among her friends ?

If there were a legion around,

You could argue, thereТs no doubt,

But there isn't, so we have to

Pick what there's to be found.



You're Russian Tsar, it'll be fair

If you mind your own affair,

How I live and whom I love

Are the matters of my care.

The house swarms with attaches,

There's a lot of them upstairs,

I can't bear any longer

The smell of their after-shaves.



Love is blind... If that is true,

You will love the envoy, too.

And along with that you'll set

My worsened foreign trade straight!

It will do to our good,

I shall sell of╗hemp and wood.

All the public give consent,

You're the only one who wouldn't!



You may frown and complain,

Yet I'll say it to you again,

As an individual I have

Rights for free marriage and free love.

Maybe, I would give consent

And get married in the end,

If it were Fedot the soldier

Who would offer me his hand.



Silly girl, you hold your tongue!

Don't you know where you belong?

Go and lock up in your room,

Learn your sol-fa, get along!

As for scoundrel Fedot,

The vicious rogue, I'll tell you what:

I shall whip him, drive him out

of the palace with a rod.



The Tsar had a General whose occupation was gathering information. Like a hunting hound, he would sniff around in search of a suspect in a city crowd. He would put down all he heard in town; and then, at exactly seven, he would come to the court to give his report.



General, you're feeling blue.

Is it quinsy or the flu?

Or you've drunk too much of beer,

Or you've lost at cards, have you?

Or your army is too small,

Or you do not want to serve at all,

Or you've found some defects

In a cannon tube or cannon ball?

Tell me openly, don't lie,

What is it that makes you sigh?

I should like to know in detail

When and where and what and why!



Well, I went to see Fedot

The other day, and you know what:

When I saw his charming wife

I fell down on the spot.

It's two days, upon my word,

That I haven't touched the sword,

There's nothing left for me but sigh,

I'm afraid, I'm going to die.

Yesterday, I will confess,

I made a sin: I wrote a verse,

The doc is scared for my brains,

It's a shock of love, he claims.



The soldier must be gotten rid of.

Didn't he know that I'm a widow?

I'll remind you of your duty:

Go and bring me now that beauty!

As for this insidious man

Wipe him out, if you can,

Grind him out so that he

Mightn't hang around here!



To kidnap her I've got wits,

But think of people in the streets,

When they learn it's your idea

They will tear you to bits.

People are quite bold today,

They will show their teeth, won't they?

You and I dislike the soldier

But they're all the other way!



Are you such a fool all days

Or is it just on Saturdays?

Must I tell my minister

Everything in every case?

To prevent the vicious tongues

You must act on legal grounds,

Or, in other words, just try

And do it... on the sly!

I for one give you my word:

You will have a good reward,

Our smiths have been assigned ,

To forge medal for you, mind!



Almost two days the General racked his brains brooding over the plan how to get rid of the soldier-man. But his brain had cracked under strain. He thought again and again but all was in vain. Then, on loose end, he remembered his old friend, Yaga the Bony Leg whom he could beg. лGotta get 'er, she knows better╗. She was in the forest gathering herbs, making poisons. When she saw the friend of hers she lost all her plants and herbs. She felt lonely indeed in the wood without her kindred!..



You are not yoursel╗today,

Looking pale, struck with dismay.

Are the Turks approaching Moscow,

Or the Swedes stand in your way?

Have this aspen bark, a bit,

It will do you good indeed,

After all, it isn't nitric,

It's a gift of nature, isn't it?

The aspen juice, my General,

Has got a healthy mineral,

No General has died from it,

Just have a taste, and you'll be fit.



Lay off, woman, I'm not ill,

Let us step across the hill,

Scare away those hedgehogs, squirrels,

I must talk to you, it's serious!

There's a soldier, Fedot by name,

He thinks he's got too much brain,

I was told the other day

To put him out of the way.

How? By cutting of╗his head?

There'll be a noise, I'm afraid.

Can you give me your advice

As to how to make him dead?



Magic, magic, you know what,

Three are here, yours are not,

Ace of diamonds, oaken coffin,

Tell me all about Fedot...

Well, if he's so prompt and smart

As to dare disregard

Our sovereign, let him get,

By tomorrow, a golden carpet.

It has got to have a grand

Map-like view of the whole land.

If he doesn't make so bold,

It will be his own fault.



What a woman! What a skill!

That's the end of my ordeal!

You could be a politician

And hold a minister's position!

With the foes we must take care,

There's always trouble in the air,

I would join you on a mission,

Take you with me anywhere.

I can pay you back, I think,

Marten, beaver Ч anything!

If you want, I'll give you coins,

Gold or silver Ч it's your choice.



Keep us without sin this day,

Better put your coins away,

I'm not doing it for money,

I enjoy it, so why pay?

Should you have some trouble again,

Come, don't treat me with disdain,

After all, I'm not a beast,

I will always soothe your pain.



Soldier Fedot is summoned to the court. The Tsar is as cross as two sticks, even before he speaks. He moves around, stamping the ground, rolling his eyes, in short, he tries to assume the air of threatening terror.



By tomorrow you must get

A carpet of a spun-gold thread,

Try and do it for all you're worth,

It's a state affair, don't forget!

It has got to have a grand

Map-like view of the whole land.

'cause from my balcony I see

Nothing. Do you understand?

If you don't fulfil the task

And don't do as you are asked,

I shall have to hand you in

To the butcher in the mornin'!



Fedot went home numbed with gloom. He sat down in the corner of the room, staring at the ceiling, his eyes tearing. Marusya offered him a snack but he put up his back; he wished nothing, just sat frowning and sobbing, looking black.



Tell me, why are you so angry?

Why don't you eat, you must be hungry.

Is the porridge overdone?

Or the meat is underdone?



Dash it! I don't feel like eating,

The Tsar's ferocity is killing!

The villain knows no justice, heck!

There's no keeping him in check!

He has ordered me to get

A carpet with an ornament

Which must be as big as Russia

With the lakes and woods on it!



Don't you worry, don't you sob!

Never mind the crazy snob!

Stand before me, Frol and Tit,

Get immediately what we need!


(Marusya claps her hands, and two burly fellows appear in front of her.)


Do you hear what I say?

Go and do it without delay!



You don't have to doubt us,

We have done it many times!



The next morning Fedot arrived at the court to show the Tsar the carpet he'd got. Out of surprise the Tsar choked with caviar. He was cross but he didn't want to show that he was. He pretended that he was as glad as could be!



I was told to get a carpet,

As you see, I've really got it,

Both the pattern and the colour

Are exactly as you wanted!

The whole of Russia is depicted

On the carpet. You may keep it.

It's my spouse's gift, brand new,

She has woven it for you!



You're a dodger through and through!

How m'ny maids are you married to?

You cannot be engaged to

An entire weaving mill, can you?

I know you have a wife, Fedot,

She's the only one you've got,

And to weave a thing like this

One has got to have a lot!



Is the carpet not so fine?

Or you don't like the design?

Then I'll put it on my shoulder,

That's the end, I draw the line!

Lest my efforts be in vain

I shall sell it to trades men,

And I do not care a damn

If it flows to Amsterdam!



I would be so glad to slash

You with a whip or with a lash,

So that you might never again

Play your jokes on serious men!

However, as a man I'm quiet,

And I'm fair, I'll give you right:

Here's a coin for you, buy vodka.

Now get out of my sight!



The Tsar calls the god damn General. The former looks terrible, his face like a beet-root, the sign of a bad mood, for when he is red, he 's a real threat! He will beat you once, never twice, and straight between the eyes! The General knows that from his own experience, he's been wearing a band ever since.



Well, my General, I imagine,

You have missed by a small margin,

But this margin will make up

Five years of a prison camp!

You're broad in shoulders all right,

But you've grown dull in mind,

There's a chance, at state expense,

To restore your mental health.



You may jail me any day

For any term, but I should say,

Prison as an object lesson

Will not help me anyway.

I would rather, sword in hand,

Fight for our dear land,

As for these petty intrigues

Count me out of such things!



Come, your honour, be a good chap,

Don't you get into a flap,

Think about how Fedot

Can be laid down without a sword.

If you fool about 'nd refuse,

Then don't look for an excuse;

I shall wipe your mug, you swine,

With this very fist of mine!



The General had no grounds to rub his hands: he couldn't smash Fedot at one dash. Again the poor man's brain had cracked under strain. There wasn't a single thought in his thinking pot! He thought again and again but all was in vain. This way or another, he knew: without Yaga he couldn't do. Again he made his way to the wood where he thought he would find a bridle on Fedot.



Why are you so glum again?

What's the reason, who's to blame?

Are the Spaniards too pugnacious?

Do the French lay any claim?

Here's a mould drink I have made,

Take a gulp, don't be afraid.

It will help you to forget

All the cares of life, I bet!

Though itСs out of the way,

It will cool you anyway,

You'll be healthy by tomorrow

If you do not die today!



It's the soldier-man again,

He has caused me so much pain!

That's the reason why I'm ailing,

And I'm suffering from strain.

The bloody scoundrel's so clever!

He has fooled me! Well I never!

All your magic was in vain,

He got the carpet all the same!

Though he doesn't seem so bright,

He has got a keen mind!

Next time, when you do your magic,

Try to do it damn right!



Magic, magic, you know what,

Three are here, yours are not,

Ace of diamonds, oaken coffin,

Tell me all about Fedot!...

Ah-a, mm-mm... To my calls

I've got the following response:

Let him search and find a deer

With the branch of golden horns.

There's nowhere in the world

Such a deer, take my word!

I can tell you that for sure

As a naturalist, my lord!



The Tsar called the daring fellow to the court. Hardly had Fedot brushed the sweat off his mush, when the Tsar got a new thought. The Tsar's head whirled with ideas while Fedot had to sweat head over ears. In short, Fedot's life was all rot!



Shake of╗idleness! Today

You'll have to get under way,

I'm in a desperate need of a deer,

It's a state mission, I must say.

If you're a loyal man,

You will do the best you can,

Go across the hills and swamps,

Find a deer with golden horns.

Don't talk back, and do not scold,

Go and do as you are told,

Or you'll get to know right off

How your head can be cut off!



Fedot came home, in beastly form. He sat down by the window, snivelling, his sight dim. His charming wife clung to him, but he didn't touch the one he loved so much. He just sat shedding tears, suffering from grief, that is.



Tell me, why are you looking blue?

Does anything worry you?

Has the soup too little salt?

Has the beefsteak any fault?



Dash! To eat I'm not willing,

It's the Tsar again. The villain!

He will call me to account

For the task that he has given.

He's s more ruthless than a foe!

He has ordered me to go

And find a deer, and he wants

A deer with golden horns!



There's no reason to be sad,

Things are not as bad as that.

Stand before me, Frol and Tit,

Get immediately what we need!


(Marusya claps her hands, and two burly fellows appear in front of her.)


Do you hear what I say?

Go and do it without delay!



You don't have to doubt us,

We have done it many times!



At day-break Fedot brought the deer to the court. Out of fury and spite the Tsar got a stitch in the side. He would crush the swine but he gave no sign. He sat yawning, pretending languor, hiding his anger!



You've been waiting for it, right?

Well, I've got it, look outside!

Did you order me a deer?

There you are! You can take pride!

The deer's horns, for you to know,

Give out a brilliant sparkling glow,

It's as bright as broad daylight,

So you'll need no lamp at night.



No such deer can be found

In these places, nor around!

There are three of them or so

In Baghdad, for all I know.

Now, you soldier, figure out

Where is Moscow and where's Baghdad,

Could you possibly have travelled

To Baghdad in just one night?



Damn! You're really being funny!

The deer isn't so fine, eh?

Didn't you tell me yesterday

To get one for love or money?

If you are as rich as that,

I'll return it to Baghdad.

Who's the ruler there now?

The chap will really be glad!



Lay off, Fedya, and don't fret,

Or you will lay down your head!

I know what you're driving at,

I see through you, remember that!

Anyhow, to save your face

I'll excuse you in this case,

Here's a coin for you, buy vodka.

Now get out of this place!



The Tsar ordered to get the General straight from bed. Seized with panic, all at once, the General reached for his underpants; he wasn't at all pleased knowing it wasn't a feast. The Tsar was sitting in his throne, angry with all and everyone. He was raving, looking black as a churchyard raven.



You have done your best, old chap,

Yet Fedot escaped the trap,

Here's the official notice

of your death I have made up.

First, however, I must think

How to kill you best, you pig,

Shall I strangle you with a pillow,

Or just strike with a candlestick?



I have come to grief, my lord,

You may hit me, here's the sword,

I just want to tell you: don't

Bother me with this Fedot!

I'm a fool, but judge me not ,

I'm a man of a different sort,

I would rather go to combat

Or take part in an assault.



You are brave when sword in hand,

But you've got to understand,

You must overcome the soldier

Using wisdom, and Ч unarmed!

If you do all anyhow,

As you've done it up to now,

I shall bring you to the scaffold,

Under axe, you scarecrow.



The fool tried to think again though he didn't have much brain. He thought again and again but all was in vain. He whistled up his dogs, and of╗he went to see Yaga in the bogs. On seeing the General she fled as far as the Urals, but then, to be on the safe side, she changed her mind and returned to her place, just in case!



You are suffering from nerves,

There's a pimple on your nose,

It's the politics that tells

On your spirit and your health.

Take this pill of rabbit's dung,

It's been really well done!

It's much healthier than honey

Though it doesn't taste so fine.

And although it isn't sweet,

And some people die from it,

Those who manage to survive

Live a long and healthy life!



It's all rubbish what you say,

You had better find a way

And tell me how the soldier-man

Can be put out of the way.

Though you really tried hard

All your tricks have fallen flat!

Don't pretend you're hard of hearing,

I just don't believe in that!

You should pull your wits together,

Try and use your magic better,

For we must admit: Fedot

Isn't so brainless as we thought!



Generally, I'm sly and shrewd,

Or, should I say, I'm quite crooked,

But today my luck is out,

I can't make my magic good!

All these days I've been in pain,

Burning inside, all aflame,

I've been suffering of late

From inflammation of the brain!

Oh my back! I'm feeling stiff!

I think I need some relief!

Therefore, such being the case,

Leave me alone, I'm on sick leave!



You are ill. Well, never min'

Eat a frog, and you'll be fine.

Mother nature, as I heard,

's the best healer in the world!

You don't even think about

Cheating me an' fooling around!

You are wicked, so don't shirk,

Turn your wickedness to work!

If you don't do as you're told

I shall draw out my sword!

Though you're a friend of mine

I shall make you toe the line!



Magic, magic, tell me what,

Three are here, yours are not,

Ace of diamonds, oaken coffin,

Tell me all about Fedot!..

Let the soldier show his skill,

Let him get something unreal,

Something That Cannot Be Found,

In This World, Nor Underground!

Now, Fedot, you're in for it!

The idea is just brilliant!

You will never carry out

Such a task! On no account!



Soldier Fedot is summoned to the court. Again it's a task of state significance. There seems to be no end to Fedot's torment! Meanwhile, this is by far not the resolution of the plot!



Do your utmost and get me

Something That Cannot Be!

Write it down for it might

Somehow get out of your mind!

I shall tell you my condition:

If you don't fulfil the mission,

I shall tear you to ribbons

For I hate your disposition!

Cheer up, get under way!

You must do it without delay ,

It's a matter of state importance,

DТ you understand what I say?



Fedot came home filled with deathly gloom. Marusya dashed to him in affection, but he paid no attention. With death penalty in store, it was natural that he should feel low.



Will you get it of╗your chest?

Tell me, why are you depressed?

Has the salad a la Milan got

No truffles in it, or what?



No, Marie, I love your food,

It's extraordinarily good!

I'm just worried that my life

Has been ruined to the root!

What am I supposed to do?

Who can help me, maybe you?

This time the Tsar ordered me

To get Something That Can't Be!



There's no use to worry at all,

All I have to do is call:

Stand before me, Frol and Tit,

Get immediately what we need!


(Marusya claps her hands, and two burly fellows appear in front of her.)


Do you hear what I say?

Go and do it without delay!


(A short silence.)



Sorry, mistress, we resign

For it's out of our line.

If we had a sketch or drawing,

We could work it out fine!

There's no use to search like this,

We won't venture, don't insist,

Where is it, something unreal ,

Something that does not exist?

There's no use to scout around

For the thing that can't be found!



Darling, don't be hard on me,

I can't help it, as you see,

Nothing doing, you will have

To search for it yourself, my love!

When abroad don't make a sin,

Keep your mind and body clean,

Do not enter conversations,

And don't strike up an acquaintance!

Take care, dear, don't go astray,

Keep from empty troubles away,

Eat sour cream and cottage cheese.

Think about your health, that is.



You don't need to have a fright,

Everything will be all right,

I shall carry the task out

And return home safe and sound!

Don't lose heart while I'm away,

Water flowers every day,

There's a tambour, a balalaika,

You can do the needlework or play.

Should somebody bother you,

You know well what you can do,

I don't have to teach you, dear,

The frying pan is over here!



Soldier Fedot had left abroad. When the General learnt that he went totally mad. He rushed to the court to report that it was the end of soldier Fedot. The god damn General had even made a hole in his coat for the medal he hadn't yet got!



Tell me good or bad news,

It must be the bare truth,

Which I know is never nice,

Yet it's better than sweet lies!

However, if the news you've got

Is something like I don't know what,

I can tell you, you'll be jailed

For ten years, you mark my word!



Your majesty, let me report:

At break of day Soldier Fedot

Set of╗on a mission voyage,

We've got rid of him, thank God!

May the scoundrel rove the seas,

A good lesson to him it is!

You and I are now secure

From seeing his ugly face, for sure!



Nurse, hey, Nurse, will you come here?

There's some work for you , my dear,

I've got hairs that are grey,

Will you tear them away?

As for those that aren't grey

Shape them in a proper way,

Take it easy with the brush,

I've got hair there, not hay!



What's there to brush, you dry old stick?

Your hair is not that thick ,

Every hair that you have

Must be registered, I think!

Tell me, why d'you need a wife

Now that you have lived your life?

I can tell you: as a man,

Sorry... you aren't worth a damn!



Well, although my hair is grey,

I must marry anyway.

The shah of Persia's just as bold,

He's got forty wives, they say!

As for me I want a wife,

Only one, not three or five.

Do you think I cannot make it,

In the sense of intimate life?



The shah has obviously got

Might and strength while you have not!

You're so small, you gnat, that one

Cannot see you under the crown!

At your age you're not so strong

As you were when you were young.

Think about your health, you're over

A hundred , if I'm not wrong.



I'm over a hundred, well, so what?

I feel young, my blood is hot!

After all, it is well known

That all ages are love-prone!

So whatever you might think,

I'm fit for such a thing,

I'm liable to love

Like any other human being!



You're one of those, my friend,

That do not have ill intent,

That may give an awful fright,

Like a grass-snake, but don't bite!

To kidnap somebody's wife

One has got to be in love,

Whereas you must play it safe

Trying to escape the grave.


TSAR (to General)

Why are you silent, General,

Rattling your decoration metal?

Don't you see the way the nurse

Lays the state under a curse?

While the nurse is damning me

The minister sits silently,

Your first care is defence,

So repel the enemy!



Let her grumble, I don't mind,

Women never judge men right!

As for you, you needn't doubt,

You're a lover of a perfect kind!

Your profile inspires pride,

You're shah of Persia from behind!

Move your crown up a little,

Just to make a better sight!


TSAR (to Nursemaid)

Look, he's not an enemy,

He has told the truth to me,

After all, he's not so stupid,

However foolish he may be!

As for you, you only try

To make trouble and defy

Your superiors. I wonder:

Are you not a foreign spy?

If you tail on me, you rat,

I shall see about that!

You just wait a day or two,

I shall have high words with you!



The Tsar is on the way to Marusya's with the intention to show her attention. He sits in the coach alone stinking of eau-de-Cologne, followed by a suite, all powdered and curled up, looking neat! They are followed by carts loaded with boxes of sweets and nuts. All is right: the Tsar is going to see the bride!



I gave orders that Fedot

Should urgently go abroad,

He is gone and lost for you,

I've got rid of him, in short!

To avoid a lonely life

Marry me and be my wife!

Why not? I'm a man of note,

And I'm sensitive to love!



No sooner had Fedot

Taken the road

Than the ravens flew in

To his garden plot!



Don't be silly, do as I say,

Take what I lay in your way!

Widowed Tsars don't come to see you

In your house every day!

Come along now! I insist!

I shall lead you to the priest.

If you're dumbfounded with delight,

Sniff ammonia, you'll be all right!



Your Majesty, you'd better chase,

Court and marry someone else,

Me, I'll wait for my Fedot,

Watch the calendar, 'nd count the days.



Don't believe in rumours, lass,

The soldier won't return, alas!

He's somewhere in Beirut

Eating some sort of fruit!

Just try to see it my way,

You're at home while he's away!

He is gone and lost for ever,

Sure as fate, he's had his day!



You may beat me with a rod!

You may smash me with a sword!

Yet I'll never be your wife!

Not even to save my life!



Now, Marusya, don't make me cross!

Don't let's quarrel just for once!

I should say, the other day

I got a guillotine from France!

Thus I think you will agree:

You had better marry me,

After all, I'm only human,

Not an iron man, you see?



Leave the house, you wicked man,

And give up your crazy plan!

If you don't get out now,

I shall help you, with a pan!



Hey you, there in the doorway!

Come and chain her right away!

Throwing pans at Tsars! What's that?

Is it a new trend today ?

You will spend some time in prison

Which will bring you, lass, to reason,

There's no use in holding out,

We'll get married by next season!



You'll have to sweat like a bull

To catch hold of me, you fool,

Farewell, old man, you may,

See me around again some day!


(Marusya turns into a pigeon and flies away.)



For nearly a year Fedot had travelled God knows where. He was getting anxious: time pressed urging him for actions. Without being hysterical he decided to go to America. Now Fedot sails across the boundless waves, with the sunset ahead and the sunrise behind. When he was half way through, bad weather came out of the blue. There had been no trouble so far, and suddenly Ч there you are! The ship Ч Holy Jesus! Ч in no time broke into pieces! When the sea calmed down Fedot came round: he was lying on a wave, quite safe. Looking around he saw an island. He swam to the shore, it was America, he was sure! He took out a map to check it up. To his disappointment it wasn't the American continent! The Rougue Island! What a plight! Maybe, the map wasn't quite right? He sat in frustration hiccuping and brooding over the situation.



To indulge the Tsar's caprice

I've been often overseas,

Frankly speaking, I have never

Seen a place as bad as this!

What an island! Such a bore!

Sand and stones, and nothing more,

As far as the eyes can see,

Not a single wood on shore!

Though it wouldn't be so bad

If there were food to be had,

If I had at least goose-foot,

I would be content with that !



If somebody wants to eat,

Welcome here, take a seat:

I've got heaps of foodstuff here,

There's a whole lot of it!

Here's, for instance, a bread loaf,

Have a taste, it's straight from stove!

Here's cherry-plum compote,

Here's turkey from the pot!

Here's sausage, here's cheese,

Here's caviar, if you please,

Here is sturgeon from the Don,

Here are Caribbean shrimps...


(There come tables with food )



What sort of miracles are these?

I want to know whose voice it is!

There's no hiding place around,

Just the ocean Ч and no trees!

Master, come into my view,

Show me what you're like, will you?

For a guest to dine alone

Isn't a proper thing to do!

Don't you think, it would be better

If we killed the time together?

We could play cards a while, then

Have a drink and play again!



Well, I would, but my appearance

Seems to be a bit mysterious,

Sometimes I have a puzzling thought:

Do I really exist or not?

I've got troubles, I can't help it,

I've got food but I can't eat!

There's tobacco, I can't sniff it,

There's a bench but I can't sit.

It has been a thousand years,

I'm sick and tired of all this!

I can't hang myself , for heaven's sake

For I haven't got a neck!



What an encounter! Oh Lord!

I have found you! My word!

Something That Cannot Be Found,

Nowhere In The Whole World!

Why should you get on like that ,

Idling about, feeling bad?

Maybe, you and I should better

Sail to the Russian Tsar together?

I think a trip will do you good,

You will get to know the world,

Life without an adventure

Is not life, upon my word!



I'm all for it for I expect

It's a bright and useful prospect,

I can make myself at home

Even in a wild bee swarm!

If you want me to, I can

Go and be a quarryman,

I shall sweat like mad for free,

And you don't have to feed me!

I'm jack of all trades,

I can go through any gates,

I shall get whatever you choose,

Even a louse wearing shoes!



Well, what shall I say to that?

of course a louse isn't bad,

But it isn't what we need,

We can't travel far on it!

If you're intelligent enough,

If you're smart and know your stuff,

You had better get some craft,

Something like a boat or raft!

Tomorrow at the break of day

We must be on our way,

They must be worn out of waiting

For us in Russia, I should say!



The Tsar is not wasting time. He's receiving the envoy of a savage tribe. London and Paris have left him no chance, so the Tsar got envoys of lower ranks. Like an errand boy, the Tsar is dancing attendance on the envoy. лHere's my daughter, lad, you'll marry her, and that's that!╗It was obvious, things were getting from bad to worse. Yet the Tsar was not worried. If only his daughter could get married.



Good afternoon! How are you? We are

Very glad to see you here.

Very good! Salam aleikum!

Buenos sera! You are welcome!

Where are you from? How old are you?

Are you married? Do you intend to?

Would you like to tell our freulein,

Tete-a- tete, a word or two?



You're discussing policy

With a savage, can't you see?

It's just three days since the envoy

Has come down the palm-tree!

If he wore a cap or something,

It wouldn't be embarrassing,

Look at him, the queer one

Has got nothing but beads on!



You're a spy, and it's a fact!

You're talking through your hat!

You have damaged my relations

With all friendly foreign nations!

I wait for visitors for years,

And they're turned out by the nurse!

After all, I must find someone

Who would marry our princess!



Look at his face, his ugly ears,

And the nose-ring that he wears!

Look, his skin is speckled, too,

Like the egg of a cuckoo!

Frankly speaking, even I

Wouldn't sleep with him. Oh my!

How can you give the girl in marriage

To such an ugly man, a savage!



When there isn't any chance

One's content with what one has!

With regards to looks the princess

Is far from being a bunch of sweetness!

SheСs got to marry any man,

A hunchbacked or a speckled one

Because even speckled ones

Do not come in flocks to us!



You know he comes from wilderness!

Look what he's eating! My goodness!

Remember that topaz vase?

He's devoured it! Bless my stars!

The rascal doesn't ask us for

Anything like mushrooms or salmon, no!

He eats whatever meets his eye,

From chinaware to nails. Oh my!



Let it be. He is our guest.

Bring whatever he'll request!

We have no shortage of nails,

Chinaware nor anything else!

If he doesn't like fish,

Let him eat what he may wish!

You just see if he will bite

At pyrites and apatite.



For a лthank you╗they will eat

Anything, even poisoned meat!

The man may be quite innocent,

Yet we must keep an eye on it:

When you offer him some eats

Tell him he must know the limits!

For he may eat up his bride

In the heat of appetite!



To go out with such a brute?

I should be damned, if I could!

He is not much to look at

And a cannibal at that!

Even if this ugly creature

Offered me his countless riches,

He would not arouse in me

Any reciprocity!



You just call the envoy out,

Have a chat, and walk around!

You'll get used to him, and then

You may love him in the end!

Should the queer troglodyte

Take a fancy to your sight,

He will surely lose for ever

His cannibal's appetite!



More than a year had passed, Fedot returned home at last. But what a despair! The house was not there! All he found were ruins and nettle growing around. And beneath the heaves, among rafts and beams, he saw a bird, alive and unhurt.



Come on, honey, be so good,

Lay the table, bring some food,

Will you give me one of those

Nicely baked loaves of yours!

Give me your delicious shchi,

Make it rich and thick for me,

I've become as thin as a rod

Eating rabbit food abroad.

There is not a soul around ,

Just the wind, and not a sound ,

Is there anything the matter?

I just cannot make it out!


(The pigeon turns into Marusya.)



Welcome, honey, what went wrong?

You have travelled far too long,

You must have forgotten me,

It's a year since you've been gone!

There must be a whole lot

of entertainment abroad,

And you must have taken fancy

of some pretty-pretty lassie!



Henriettes and Josephines,

I've seen plenty overseas,

But I haven't seen a beauty

Such as you among those queens.

I have travelled rather long

And I haven't gone wrong,

I have found in the end

Something to the Tsar's content!



Honey, had you known before

Whom you were sweating for,

I can tell you, you'd have never

Ever stepped out of your door!

When you left, the shameless man

Had a try to win my hand,

Urging me to come to reason

And be his spouse by next season.



Did he really? What a bastard!

How can such a man be trusted?

How can I struggle for his honour

And be loyal to my master?

Anyhow, I'll make him hot,

I shall tell him what is what!

And I'll show what I can do:

Paint him all o'er black and blue!

He wouldnТt dare! The way he mocks

And makes fools of Russian folks!

I'll take care of him somehow,

I've got nothing to lose now!



Fedot got angry indeed; he appealed to men in the street; his neighbours decided to help him; Frol took a beam, Ignat took a bat, Max took an axe, Ustin took a bar, and of╗they went to have it out with the Tsar. The god damn General came stealthily out, his eyes flashed as he looked round, then he rushed to the court to give his report.



There's... what is it?.. a crowd

of people on the palace grounds!

So it's obvious: things are taking

A social turn, if I'm not mistaken!

It's Fedot who is to blame,

He is playing a deep game,

Setting people against you,

Urging them to stage a coup!



What about you, my lord?

You've got such a sharp sword,

Don't I keep you by my side

To protect my peace and quiet?

Some day, when two Sundays meet,

You'll get a medal, I promise it.

All you must do is prevent

The overthrow of my government!



A lot I care for a medal!

I've got heaps of them already!

When I have them all on me

I look like a Christmas tree!

And I don't see any sense

To come out in your defence,

You have made your own bed,

So you lie on it, my friend!



The stupid rat! How dared he talk like that! The Tsar was cross, yet he let it pass for those were not the days to hit a man in the face. He went downstairs and made a strict face. He looked over the square: the whole of Russia seemed to be there!



What the hell, explain to me,

Does this all suppose to mean?

We are not a France of a sort

Where people sow discord!

Who is willing to Siberia?

One by one, come out here!

Staying there in a prison

Will quickly bring you all to reason!



As for reason, we are not blind,

We all have a lucid mind

And distinguish, thanks to God,

Rubbish from forget-me-not!

Tell me, why did you send me of╗

To a place no one knows of?

Is it not because you wanted

To get married to my wife?



How did this idea get

Into your goddamn villain's head?

Throwing dirt at honest people

That's what I call what you said!

Does it befit a man like me

To court your wife? How can it be?

There's no use, as I can see,

To send you out across the sea!



Now calm down, your majesty,

We're not here for a cup of tea,

If you quarrel, you big bug,

I shall smash you in the mug!

Your notorious malice spreads

As far as Che-re-po-vets!

In my person, ill-intentioned,

You have spat upon the nation!



Calm down, Fedya, don't be mean,

My people are my kith and kin,

Without thinking of them, I should say,

I can't live a single day!

When I eat my butter and bread

Thoughts of the people enter my head,

Both the caviar and compote

Stick like crazy in my throat!

Late at night I'm awake

Sitting up until daybreak,

Thinking about my poor Russia:

лHow is it, for goodness sake?╗

It's the General's dirty tricks,

He engages in intrigues,

And he's the only one to blame

For defaming my good name!

Find him now! He's over there!

I am going to curl his hair!

I shall tear of╗his medal,

Smash his face and call it square!



No, no, brothers, it's not true!

I have lost my eye for you!

You're my people, can I ever

Be against you? Well, I never!

I have failed and fallen flat,

I'm sorry, it's too bad .

I don't know, I can't, I won't ,

I've nothing to do with that!

I'll atone for it, I will

Go through prison... any ordeal!

I do not belong to those

Who oppress you, I suppose.

You should blame Yaga for this,

She's the worst of enemies,

Even dragon Gorynytch

Cannot rival our witch!

Come out, you old wicked mouse,

Stand before the people's eyes,

I can't keep from hitting you,

With the sabre, once or twice!



I'm a folklore element,

I have got a document!

I can fly away from here

Any time, at any moment!

For a hot or stormy day

People blame me anyway,

Though I'm harmless. You know, I

Wouldn't even hurt a fly.

Sorry, I have gone astray,

It just happened that way,

Don't be strict to me, I'm only

A child of nature, so to say!

If it comes to that, blame these

Two of my accomplices.

Though I look an evil doer,

Compar'd wi' them, I'm pure!



You're all so shrewd, you folk,

I'm in a state of shock!

You blame one another while

Each of you is equally vile!

Though we Russians feel contempt

For severe punishment,

Yet I'll have to try you, friends,

For a criminal offence.



Please, Fedot, be merciful!

I'm a downright scoundrel!

Exile me to Cherepovets,

Or Voronezh, or Yelets!

Only not to Magadan Ч

I am too old a man,

I'm afraid, I shall run down

Before I get to that town!



I acknowledge all my guilt

And the gravity of it,

I should ask you, let me go

And fight in a current war.

If there's no war, I'll accept

Prison, exile Ч all, except

That I wish it were near

The Black Sea, in the Crimea!



We shall put you in a barrel,

Throw you in the sea to travel.

It's not a travel first class,

So don't expect a ship from us.

May the ocean take you round,

Get you to the Rougue Island,

I will give you my accordion,

So that you might not grow wild.

I'm sorry, I must say,

The accordion doesn't play,

However, as a sign of culture,

You will need it anyway .

Now, my fellow countrymen,

Keep your chins up if you can,

After all, we are not here

For a funeral, are we?

We will not shed tears for once

For it's time to eat and dance,

Come out, stand in front of me,

Something That Cannot Be!



It is a long time that I

Have been standing nearby ,

Waiting for you to wind up,

Not daring to interrupt!



Will you treat us all to these

Lavish things from overseas?

People may have never tasted

Such superb delicacies!

Bring us all that you can get,

Marmalade and chocolate

Finnish bacon, sausage, ham,

Smoked meat from Amsterdam!

Get that Swiss cheese wrapped in rolls,

I mean the one that's full of holes.

We shall keep it, just in case,

Specially for gourmets.

And if somebody wants a drink,

Home-brew, wine or anything,

He may have a glass or two,

There's something to drink to!



I was there and I ate caviar. Filat ate a salad, Proff ate pilaff, Ustin ate galantine. As for Soldier Fedot he had a cucumber with salt. There were cakes and ale! And that's the end of the fairy tale. You may think the tale is bad, well, the storyteller is to blame for that! I wish I could catch the fool and give him his gruel, but it's against the rule for the teller is a fool, and our people are not used to censure fools!


The End


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