Fairy Tale Fuss
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Ordinary Morning or Way to Grandma
The weather was hot, deadly hot. For a week already you could see a clear cloudless sky of rich blue color with a lonely sun, which either for boredom or for anger heated the dry earth.
Day by day this sizzle repeated burning the grass in the fields and forcing all flesh to hide in the narrow shades of trees.
The whole nature kept sorrowful calmness waiting for rain, which seemed to lose its way somewhere. Even the wind somehow unwillingly bent the yellow grass to the earth, and birds, usually restless, were silent.
Herds of bunnies and ever-hungry ground squirrels fearlessly wandered the meadow filled with grasshoppers' rustle. They knew that in such a weather no predator would leave the midwood until dusk of the relentless sun. Even the dead bumpy road caused no concern to the animals.
Suddenly, this sleepy silence was broken at the farthest hill by a huge swirl of dust, which was dragging along the road as a worm. First it moved silently without causing any anxiety to the animals. However, in a few minutes it started to clatter and roar loudly. After the animals noticed the frightful 'worm', they scattered. Many of them ran into the wood, others hid in the grass with fear.
The 'worm' swooshed past the meadow and tailed away leaving clouds of grey dust. Its outgoing roar was herd for another few minutes. But even when the cloud of dust disappeared, and the roadside dust settled, frightened animals could not get back to their affairs for a rather long time.
A silly cuckoo was so frightened that forgot its only phrase, and an old squirrel, after it saw the 'worm', even fell off the tree.
Many animals saw this monster, but none of them knew that it was just a small car with wheels, which sank in and out of the road holes and bumps each after each creating the frightening noise. And only an elderly magpie could figure it out. Daydreaming, it was playing at the road with a square of a colored glass and noticed the 'worm' only at the moment it reached it. The poor magpie was nailed against the windshield, and for several seconds it watched the passengers of the car. Then the car hopped on the next pit and the magpie was brushed away. The whirlwind took it up, and from there the bird, tumbled and without several feathers, flew to tell the whole wood what had happened to it.
Traveling in the car were the Tarasovs family comprising, like many others, two parents and two children.Behind the wheel was, as always, the head of the family, Alexandr Nikolaevich, a mechanic at Vestnik city plant.
An eyesome woman sitting next to him read a women's magazine. This was Tatiana Anatolievna, a journalist of a local paper and the mother of the two little ruffians sitting on the back seat.
"Mommy, what happened to that birdie?" a little girl Masha asked combing the hair of her red-haired doll. Masha was wearing a green print dress, and she was only six, despite that for others she often looked a couple of years older for her tallness.
"She is OK, baby," Tatiana Anatolievna told. "I saw it fly into the wood wholesome and alive."
"Mommy, do we have a long time to go?" the girl asked another question. "Look, my Dasha is already very tired, she wants to go to bed and sleep."
"I don't know, Mashenka," Tatiana Anatolievna threw a reproachful look at her husband. "Our daddy decided to nick in and turned to this road. I suppose, he know where are we going. Ask him!"
Masha at once glued to the shoulder of the second adult and cheeped:
"Daddy, when will we arrive?"
"Very soon, honey!" Alexandr Nikolaevich replied with a straight face without abstracting from the road. "We are almost there! If not round the first corner, then round the second or… er… the third one we'll see Tarakanovka village, and there it's no distance to grandma."
In very deed, that straight face was just a mask hiding the real mood of Masha's father. He almost had no belief in his own words, and at that time he even wanted to be in his daughter's shoes because Masha did not have to be responsible for anything except for broken toys and books spoilt with patterns. She did not have to look for a small village among those innumerable dead rods, she could just sit on the back seat or sleep.
At that moment Alexandr Nikolaevich wanted to believe that they were keeping the right course. But the time passed by, yellow meadows were left behind, but grandma's village did not still appear and the road was going into the deep wild forest.
"I told you we'd better took a train," Tatiana Anatolievna started reproaching her husband. "But you decided to go by this wreck. I don't know why, but I have the feeling that we got lost."
"We are not lost," the father objected. "We are keeping the right course."
"Mommy, please, tell Dasha a fairy tale," Masha asked, reclined on the seat and offhandedly laid her legs on her brother, who was trying at least to take a zizz. "Only a nice and kind one! About the Father Frost and the Snow Maiden!"
"Who told you that the old Father Frost is kind?" Vanya, who left his attempts to have a sleep, opposed to his little sister. "He freezes birdies, bunnies, children and then eats them. He is an ordinary mean old man!"
"You're lying, lying! He is good, he brings presents to all children!" Masha got angry.
"No, I'm not. He is mean!" the boy continued.
All of a sudden, the unexpected anger of the little girl turned into soreness. Her eyes filled with tears, then Masha burst into sob.
"Mommy," she cheeped sobbing "Tell him that the Father Frost is good, isn't he?"
"Surely, he is! Calm down, dear, Vanya's just joking! He is angry that he has grown up, and the Father Frost will not bring him presents anymore. Besides, he must be willing to stop visiting his friends in the evenings and stop playing the computer. He must be willing to spend not only the weekend, but the whole summer in his grandma's village. He has a lot of friends there, haven't you, Vanya?" Tatiana Anatolievna told quietly soothing her daughter.
She had already got used to often quarrels of her children, and she knew how to quiet down her son, who almost always started the quarrels.
"Surely, I'm joking!" the boy gasped and saddened.
He did remember the last summer holidays at his grandma's, when he every day made only troubles: he had constantly to fight with local boys, who disliked him in everything, starting from the fact that he was urban and up to his clothes.
The most hurtful thing was that he nearly always lost the fights. It was not that he was weak or could not give a good hit. The country boys often attacked him all at once, and it is always difficult to win a crowd. However, over a number of such fights, Vanya quickly found a salvation: as soon as he saw a crowd of bullies, he ran away.
What is more, he had to run a lot and quickly – with bread from the store, with products bought at the market, and once even with a water melon. Once, only in trunks, he hardly managed to flee away from the village pond, when the bullies came there. Each time, walking in the village, Vanya had to keep his eyes open.
Yet, it turned out that those holidays also had pluses. The thing is that when the boy returned from the village at the end of summer, in school he instantly turned from a middle-level runner in his class into the fastest and almost invincible one.
Another reason, why he did not want to stay at his grandma's, is that he had long time ago arranged a meeting in a number of days with Anya, who Vanya thought to be the coolest girl in school! So, if he would stay in the village, how he would meet with her?!
Besides, a new computer game was waiting for him at home. Ivan had already bet Leshka, his deskmate in school, that he would pass the game faster than his friend. The boy did not want to go down without a fight.
His mother, surely, knew all that and, of course, she skillfully used her son's attachment to home to quiet him down.
"Mom, just don't leave me in the village!" Vanya summed up his thoughts, then took out from his backpack a red apple taken by him at breakfast at home, quickly ate it to core and gazed in the window, where trees were passed by in the dust.
All of a sudden, a huge cobblestone happened to be round a sharp corner of the dry road. The stone appeared so suddenly that Alexandr Nikolaevich was caught unaware. But he instantly put on the brakes and with quick movements of his hands started to get the car out of the seemingly inevitable collision with the stone giant.
And he almost succeeded. The old Zhiguli squealed and slipped between the stone and an old pine by the side of the road. But the next second a short whump sounded like the one, which is heard when a tire explodes. Apparently, it was cut by a sharp stone, which was one of the many on that road.
The car instantly went into a skid and began to twirl right on the road in an unreal somersault. Only after it rolled over several times, it stopped and died out.
When the grind of metal against rocks stopped, clear children's screams could be heard all around for some time. Those were Ivan and Masha, who could not stop.
Surely, it can seem strange that a fifth-grade boy can scream like a little girl, but if ten small and very sharp nails of a girl dug into your legs, would you be able to manage it?!
In a few minutes the screams stopped, but there was a reason for that silence.
Somewhere very close a loud and a horrid animal roar sounded. Apparently, somebody or something was very angry that the quietness of the taiga forest was disturbed.
Ivan hardly separated himself of his sister, somehow unfastened the seat belt and plonk! – he fell down on the ceiling of the car, which was then the bottom. The boy did not get bruises only because he fell on his back protected with the backpack he took with him.
Having found that his parents were unconscious and in no way could be awaken, Vanya wanted to release his sister, who was still secured by the seat belt, and even crawled to Masha.
That moment he heard another new more horrible roar. Green bushes by the roadside began to shake. Cracking roots were heard. Vanya looked in the direction of the noise and his mouth formed an 0. A huge bear was coming out of the midwood breaking small trees.
"What have you seen there? What's there?" Masha shouted almost sobbing and trying to get free of the seat belt, but all she managed to do was to sway from side to side and helplessly bump against the car.
"Be quiet, you tale lover!" Ivan almost roared at her looking at the bear's large eyes. It is not that they were really strange, but they were not like the eyes the boy had many times seen on TV or in a zoo. Those were not eyes of a beast, fierce and bloodthirsty, but small like buttons, red as blood and sly. As for the rest, the bear everything aroused fear and timidity.
"Help me right now or I will scream again!" his sister told having bump against the car for another time.
"Wait!" Ivashka ticked off, having stopped the sister's mouth as a precaution. "If you scream, we're all dead."
He released his sister from the car and seated her next to him.
"Look there!" Vanya told and dabbed at the bear with his finger.
Now, they were both looking at that giant with a thick skin. Meanwhile, the bear was already standing by the road and tried to find the disturber by smell.
Having smelled the air and, probably, not really sensed anything, he gave another roar showing his angry mood, then slowly got up on his a hind feet.
Now, this taliped was like the stuffed four-meter bear Ivan had recently seen in the city museum. But that was a completely harmless dummy – just skin stuffed with all sorts of things and bones, and now they saw a real wild bear, from which you could expect anything.
Suddenly, having dropped on his fore feet, the bear headed right towards the car. You could see how the ground subsided under its paws leaving huge traces. The boy had to stop Masha's mouth even harder, otherwise she could start screaming inadvertently.
In fact, in such a situation even Vanya would start screaming. But the boy was too busy with his sister and he did not have any time or opportunity for such liberties.
"Be quiet, quiet, little fool!" Vanya whispered either under his breath, or to Masha.
Masha bit her brother's hand and he had to take it off the sister's mouth. She did not scream, though for some time she looked like a dummy: she did not speak and did not respond to anything, but then she suddenly ticked off:
"We must run! Into the wood!"
"Why?" Vanya wondered. "Do you know that this giant," – he pointed to the bear, which was smelling the mom's magazine lying near the car, – "runs as our car or even faster, and climbs trees like a monkey. We cannot run away from him! I heard on TV that it is hard to kill it, as the skin is tick. I'm telling you, if we run, they'll find only our bare bones."
The bear slowly walked around the warped car, looking in one window than in another. Vanya and the bear even met eyes a couple of times.
Vanya immediately notices what horrible nasty smell came out of the evil chaps of the taliped. Besides, the bear was not clean, that is why a significant share of the nasty smell came from his rough skin.
The bear often stooped its head, and its nostrils blew dust with a strong air blast. Then, unexpectedly for the children, it rushed to the front wheel, got claws into the worn tire and bit it. The exploded tire tube made a whistling sound of the escaping air. The bear just shrank back from the dirty tire and made an angry roar.
"I don't care!" Masha ticked off picking her doll up from the floor. "If this bear tries to get into the cabin, I'll run away!"
"No, you will not!" her brother opposed. "What will I say then to our mom?"
"You'll say that…"
The girl did not even finish her phrase, when the bear, just as if he had heard the children's conversation, brassily started getting into the rear window. It poked its head and was going to roar again, now at the children, but it did not get a chance. Vanya absolutely reflexively took a poke at the bear's brazen face with his leg and hit it right into the noise. The bear instantly squealed and began to back away. But it was much more difficult to pull the head out than to push it in. The bear started helpless banging against the edges of the window, which did not let him to release his head. Meanwhile, Vanya was continuously hitting the bear right into its nose until the bear finally got out of the car.
When the bear finally broke loose, it fell behind on its back and started to rub its injured nose with the forefeet wheezing.
"Did you see how I hit it!" Vanya proudly asked turning to his sister.
But Masha had already left the car; she was hastily running into the forest holding her favorite doll by the hair. Without thinking of anything, the boy rushed after his sister.
When he entered the somber forest, Vanya at once found a path going into the heart of the forest. So, he followed the path. Soon the boy saw Masha running as fast as she could.
When a few meters were left to his sister, Vanya tripped over the roots of old trees coming out at the path. He tumbled on the ground and got his knees scraped, but instantly stood up and kept running.
It was strange, but Masha, who ran nearby only seconds ago, disappeared. Vanya ran listening carefully to hear his sister, even ran faster and called her several times. All in vain. Masha did not respond.
When a fallen tree appeared on the path, the boy hopped over it without any thoughts and… found himself beside his sister. He fell down in a deep earth pit, probably dug out a long time ago and nobody knows for what. Having tumbled down on his backpack again, he found himself face to face with Masha.
"I was shouting to you, bonehead, beware of the pit!" the girl was boiling with anger. "And get off my leg!"
Vanya stood up slowly and looked around. They were in a brick pit with dry fir branches at the bottom. The top was about three meters up, the sky overhead was still blue.
"Quite a deep one!" the boy sighed. "It's all three meters high."
"Vanya, where are we, ah?" Masha asked.
"I cannot be absolutely sure, but, most likely, we fell down in a sort of a mine. In any case, this pit is man-made."
"What should we do now?" Masha began to whimper again, huddled herself up in a corner and lapped the shabby and dirty doll.
"First of all, it's too late to whimper." Vanya told. "You should have thought earlier, when you ran into the forest."
"You must have also thought, when hopped over the tree," the girl replied to the brother's reproach and started to sob even more. "This ugly bear can have already eaten mommy and daddy. Now it will come here and eat us. Mom! Mommy!"
Vanya suddenly understood that it was not the right time to give his little sister a lecture. She was already really frightened, mazed and depressed."
"Please, don't say that," he told. "Our parents are alive. We didn't see anything and we don't know, where the bear headed, when we ran away. Maybe it got back in the wood at once. You must have seen how I hit the bear right in its nose, when it tried to get into the cabin!"
"We'll never know. We'll never get out of here."
"We'll soon figure out something," Vanya did not give up.
"Aha, we'll wait till the bear comes here!"
"Don't be afraid, Masha. If only it comes here, I will also break its tooth or gouge out its eye with a stone," the boy showed heroism tapping the walls of the earth jail. "Let's better try to get out of here. Now, I'm about 145 centimeters tall. And you?"
"120," replied Masha wiping tears on her cheeks.
"It means, in total we have… we have 145 plus 120–265 centimeters. Thus, we need plus 35 centimeters to get three meters."
"We'll compensate the shortage in height with bricks. There!" Vanya bent down, searched under the branches and pulled out a brick. "You see, if we collect six more of these and put them one onto another, we'll get the missing 35 centimeters. Did you get it?"
"Got it, got it."
"If you got it, let's search."
Vanya and Masha started creeping across the pit searching for other bricks. They crept through the length and breadth of the pit, examined the whole bottom. Eventually, they found five more bricks.
"One brick is missing," the boy concluded. "This doesn't mean anything. It must work without that one."
Vanya piled the bricks at the wall forming a small tower.
"Now, let's try," Vanya said kneeling. "Masha, get on my shoulders."
Holding on to the wall, Masha carefully got on Vanya's shoulders. After he felt that his little sister is standing securely, Vanya first slowly stood up on his feet, then in the same way got on the bricks.
"Well, do your hands reach the end of the pit?"
"I can reach it with my fingers, but that is not enough," Masha told from above.
"Heck! Try to raise yourself on tiptoes."
Masha tried to reach out on her tiptoes, but did not have much success. Two additional centimeters did not change the situation.
"I still cannot grip hands on it."
"What is to do, what is to do? What is to do?" Vanya started repeating feverishly, trying to find an answer at the back of his mind. Suddenly, an idea struck him and Vanya even shuddered. "What a fool I am! You are standing on my shoulders, but you can get onto my head. Try it! Just be careful."
Masha with great caution stepped onto the top of her brother's head and instantly with confidence gripped hands on the end of the pit.
"I did it!" Masha cried joyfully.
"Now chin up, get out of the pit and look for a long stick so that I could climb out of here," Vanya explained.
Masha tried to chin up, but she could not do it. She tried many times, but the girl only grunted and puffed.
"I cannot get up. I have weak hands," the girl confessed in the end and asked: "Maybe, you'll get on my shoulders and I'll support you?"
"Aha, I'm too heavy for you. Get down then," Vanya told Masha. "Enough dancing on my head."
"I'll stand it," Masha told confidently and jumped off on the soft bottom of the pit.
"Just forget it."
"Vanya, I'll really stand it."
"What have I done to get it!" Vanya cried out grabbing one of the bricks he found and throwing it at the far-end wall of the pit.
The brick making wide rolls and somersaults flew over the whole three-meter pit and hit the wall. But the hit was quite strange. It sounded like the brick hit something made of iron.
When Vanya heard that sound, he instantly grew suspicious. He came to the place of the hit, examined it carefully, tested it thoroughly and then started to hop as if he had made a great discovery.
"Indeed, a hatch! Masha, there is a hatch here."
"Why should a hatch be here?"
"I don't know why, but it is here!" Vanya said and tapped at the iron. "Maybe, it was a drain previously."
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