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Leonid Filatov. The Tale of Soldier Fedot

Леонид Филатов Про Федота-стрельца, молодого удальца Перевод Алика Вагапова Перейти к странице с двуязычной версией сказки: http://zhurnal.lib.ru/w/wagapow_a/fed-rus-eng.shtml Leonid Filatov THE TALE OF SOLDIER FEDOT, THE DARING FELLOW A fairy tale for stage performance (based on the Russian folklore) Translated by Alec Vagapov JOKER 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. TSAR 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? FEDOT 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. JOKER 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. FEDOT 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. PIGEON 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. FEDOT 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? PIGEON 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! FEDOT 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! JOKER 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 - 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! MARUSYA 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? FEDOT 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! MARUSYA 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. FELLOWS You don't have to doubt us, We have done it many times! JOKER 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 - 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 Soldier Fedot. Suddenly, - oh my! - 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? TSAR I am interested in Your technology of seedin': Do your farmers skin the swedes When they plant them in the fields? ENVOY Yes. TSAR I'm interested in Your daily eating routine: Do your people have their cocoa With or without saccharine? ENVOY Yes! TSAR Then there's another thing That I'm interested in: Do your women wear knickers, Something underneath, I mean? ENVOY Yes! NURSEMAID Are you crazy? Shame on you! Think whom you are talking to! Women is the subject you Turn all conversations to! TSAR 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. NURSEMAID Not even I - not for your life! - Would really want to be his wife, All he has in mind is try And swallow something on the sly! "Yes"is all he is repeating, While he never ceases eating, Close your eyes, and he'll devour Hal"of Russia, at one sitting! TSAR 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, "by accident". Consequently the guest has A strong bias against us. NURSEMAID 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: "si, si" While he would indulge in eating Our herring ivashi! TSAR 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! NURSEMAID 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! TSAR 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, there"s no doubt, But there isn't, so we have to Pick what there's to be found. PRINCESS 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. TSAR 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! PRINCESS 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. TSAR 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. JOKER 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. TSAR 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! GENERAL 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. TSAR 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! GENERAL 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. "Gotta 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!.. OLD WITCH You are not yourself"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. GENERAL 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? OLD WITCH 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. GENERAL 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 - anything! If you want, I'll give you coins, Gold or silver - it's your choice. OLD WITCH 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. JOKER 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. TSAR 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'! JOKER 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. MARUSYA 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? FEDOT 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! MARUSYA 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! FELLOWS You don't have to doubt us, We have done it many times! JOKER 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! FEDOT 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! TSAR 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! FEDOT 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. TSAR 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. GENERAL 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. OLD WITCH 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 it"s out of the way, It will cool you anyway, You'll be healthy by tomorrow If you do not die today! GENERAL 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! OLD WITCH 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! JOKER 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. MARUSYA Tell me, why are you looking blue? Does anything worry you? Has the soup too little salt? Has the beefsteak any fault? FEDOT 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! MARUSYA 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! FELLOWS You don't have to doubt us, We have done it many times! JOKER 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! FEDOT 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. TSAR 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? FEDOT 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. TSAR 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? GENERAL 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. TSAR You are brave when sword in hand, But you've got to understand, You must overcome the soldier Using wisdom, and - 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. JOKER 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! OLD WITCH 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! GENERAL 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! OLD WITCH 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! GENERAL 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! OLD WITCH 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! JOKER 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! TSAR 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, D" you understand what I say? JOKER 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. MARUSYA 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? FEDOT 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! MARUSYA 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.) FELLOWS 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! MARUSYA 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. FEDOT 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! JOKER 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! TSAR 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! GENERAL 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! TSAR 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! NURSEMAID 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! TSAR 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? NURSEMAID 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. TSAR 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! NURSEMAID 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! GENERAL 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! JOKER 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! TSAR 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! MARUSYA No sooner had Fedot Taken the road Than the ravens flew in To his garden plot! TSAR 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! MARUSYA 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. TSAR 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! MARUSYA 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! TSAR 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? MARUSYA 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! TSAR 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! MARUSYA 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.) JOKER 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 halfway through, bad weather came out of the blue. There had been no trouble so far, and suddenly - there you are! The ship - Holy Jesus! - 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 Rogue Island! What a plight! Maybe, the map wasn't quite right? He sat in frustration hiccupping and brooding over the situation. FEDOT 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 ! VOICE If somebody wants to eat, Welcome here, take a seat: I've got heaps of foodstuffs"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 ) FEDOT What sort of miracles are these? I want to know whose voice it is! There's no hiding place around, Just the ocean - 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! VOICE 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! FEDOT 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! VOICE 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! FEDOT 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! JOKER 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. "Here'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. TSAR 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? NURSEMAID 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! TSAR 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! NURSEMAID 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! TSAR 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! She"s got to marry any man, A hunchbacked or a speckled one Because even speckled ones Do not come in flocks to us! NURSEMAID 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! TSAR 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. NURSEMAID For a "thank 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! PRINCESS 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! TSAR 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! JOKER 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. FEDOT 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.) 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! FEDOT 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! MARUSYA 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. FEDOT 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 wouldn"t 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! JOKER 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. GENERAL 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! TSAR 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! GENERAL 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! JOKER 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! TSAR 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! FEDOT 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? TSAR 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! FEDOT 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! TSAR 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: "How 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! GENERAL 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! OLD WITCH 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! FEDOT 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. TSAR Please, Fedot, be merciful! I'm a downright scoundrel! Exile me to Cherepovets, Or Voronezh, or Yelets! Only not to Magadan - I am too old a man, I'm afraid, I shall run down Before I get to that town! GENERAL 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 - all, except That I wish it were near The Black Sea, in the Crimea! FEDOT 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 RogueIsland, 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! VOICE It is a long time that I Have been standing nearby , Waiting for you to wind up, Not daring to interrupt! FEDOT 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! JOKER I was there and I ate caviar. Filat ate a salad, Prof 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! © Copyright: Вагапов, 2007 Свидетельство о публикации №1707281534
Добавлено:    Изменено: 11.07.2008    1 389    
История создания:
Leonid Filatov THE TALE OF SOLDIER FEDOT, THE DARING FELLOW A fairy tale for stage performance (based on the Russian folklore) Translated by Alec Vagapov

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