The sea-gull-weep-gull (Чайка- Необычайка)
It happened at the Baikal in the deep cold autumn after the severe storm when all birds flew away in the south yet.
The old fisherman Shono woke early in the morning because of a strange scream of a sea-gull. He had never heard such a loud piercing shout. He run out of his yurt and saw a huge unusual sea-gull flying in the sky. He had never seen that bird before.
The enormous bird was brought at the Baikal with a severe autumnal wind. It was the ice-gull which had never left the north before that’s why she missed strongly for her home the Arctic Ocean. These ice-gulls stayed at home all the seasons and didn’t fly away in the south.
Shono couldn’t understand the bird’s sorrow and he hurried to go home.
The story of that unusual bird plunged Lake Baikal’s fishers and hunters of taiga and mountains into sadness soon. The bird was nicknamed “Sea-gull – weep-gull” for her huge size.
Shamans announced hastily Sea-gull was evil spirits, a heartless soothsayer of coming misfortunes.
In spite of the Baikal being wealthy with fish, free and wide, Sea-gull dreamt about fiery opalescent flashes of northern lights, a polar snow-fall, a snow-storm howling, barking and running of arctic foxes, a mighty surf of freezing ocean waves and rustling of icy slopes.
Sea-gull strived to come back to her Homeland with all her might but she couldn’t because of severe northern winds prevented her from going back. She tried one more time soared up to the sky flew over the deserted bay. She shouted so griefly and heart-rendingly and old Shono couldn’t bear it any more. He grasped a rifle and shot at Sea-gull.
Sea-gull fell to the send bleeding and ceased.
Shono came up to the killed bird. When he looked at Sea-gull his heart filled with pain and pity. He noticed that tears in bird’s eyes were pure like spring water. There were small freezed reflections of northern lights in those eyes. And then Shono realized it was a terrible unforgivable mistake to trust shamans and kill that unusual Sea-gull. He stood for a long time and looked at still Sea-gull’s body and didn’t know what to do next.
And suddenly he remembered there a mystic place existed at the Baikal shore with marvelous healing springs. Old men said all waters in the world were in connect thereby the Baikal was connected to the Arctic Ocean. Maybe water of the native ocean would revive Sea-gull…
Shono took Sea-gull with himself and boated across the bay to the hidden place. He scooped some water and poured it over the dead bird. To his great surprise that water turned out the elixir of life: a deep wound skinned over, Sea –gull moved! Then the bird flapped and flushed, proved to be proud, strong and sweeping. She shot upwards and flew northward. Having got over the headwind Sea-gull shaded from view soon. Having followed with his eyes Shono smiled and felt joy with all his heart.
Strong Baikal (Богатырь Байкал)
Many years ago Strong Baikal was jolly and kind. He loved his only daughter Angara very much. Nobody and nothing could rival in beauty with her. By day she was bright - brighter than the sky, by night she was dark - darker than a storm-cloud.
Whoever passed by her, everybody admired her, and praised her. Even the migratory birds: geese, swans, cranes – came down, but rarely took to the water. They said: - “Who dare darken the bright?”
The Old man Baikal cherished his daughter as the apple of his eye. Once, while Baikal fell asleep, Angara hurried to the youth Yenisei. And suddenly arouse her father, splashed the waves in rage. Fiery storm began, the mountains cried out, the forests collapsed, the sky turned black with grief, animals scampered about the ground surface in horror, and fishes dove to the very bottom, birds passed away to the sun. Wind alone was wailing and Strong Baikal was raging.
Powerful Baikal struck a grey mountain, broke a cliff away and threw it after his fleeing daughter. The cliff landed on the very throat of the beauty. The blue-eyed Angara pleaded, choking and weeping, and begged: - “Father I am dying of thirst, forgive me and give me a single drop of water …”
Cried out Baikal in fury: - I can give you nothing but my tears!.. “
Many centuries, there flow the tears of Angara towards Yenisei, while the lonely and grey Baikal turned gloomy and dreadful.
The cliff that Baikal threw after his daughter people named "Shaman Stone". Rich sacrifices were offered to Baikal there. People said: "When Baikal becomes angry, he will tear the Shaman Stone away and the water will surge out and flood the Earth".
But it all had happened long ago, now the people are brave and do not fear Baikal any more.
The trunk-cliff (хобот скала).
Long long times ago the shores of the Famed Sea were inhabited with rhinoceroses and mammoths – giant animals. One day the leader of the rhinoceroses’ herd told the leader of the mammoths’ herd: - I can’t understand what for do you need two these long ivories? In my opinion it is enough to have only one ivory to get the food out of snow.
Mammoth grinned and asked: - Why do you have two horns?
- Don’t compare! - Rhino exclaimed, - when it is high time to get the food I use the horn on my nose and the horn on my forehead is for defense
- And what do you mean? – Mammoth asked.
- I would like to say you can dispense with ivories. You have a very mighty trunk. All your force and craft are in it.
-My ivories have force and craft not less than my trunk. Do you want me to show you what can I lift?
- Ok! Do it!
- Do you see this cliff near the Sea? I will lift it with my ivories now!
- It can’t be!
- Look at me!
Mammoth took a run and stuck ivories into the cliff, but only he wanted to lift it, at once his ivories broke because of big weight and fell down into the Sea. Self- assured Mammoth became sad and felt a pain. He sank his trunk into the Sea to get broken ivories. That was a pity to lose it entirely. But all his efforts were vain: ivories and the cliff seemed to adhere to the Sea bottom. Mammoth stood still on Baikal shore until he turned to stone, having replaced that cliff which brought together with his ivories down to the Sea.
Now people call it “the Trunk –Cliff”.
The fairy –tale about two bell towers (Сказка о двух колокольнях).
Once upon a time monks lived in one place near us and nuns lived in another place. Everyone could imagine what their life was like: prayings, fasts, givings up, mundane temptations. ..
Once they, like having colluded, made a decision to retire from people in a distant and deserted place for doing charitable works. They were recommended that the best place for their work would be the Lake Baikal. It so fell out that monks and nuns came on the lake at the same time. They boated, admired the beauty of shores, looked at the clear sky, but suddenly it became dark. The storm-cloud cropped up and hung over the lake, like a bushy coverlet. The severe wind blew, the sea roared, swollen waves foamed with whitecaps. The monks’ boat was wallowed so heavily that it seemed to be taking up by the deep. The ding of bells, having scattered all over the boat by the raging elements, added to unbelievable crash and noise of the Sea.
Monks didn’t want to drown; they were not only patient and firm, but skillful: they dealt the elements like real sailors. The prayer also helped them. How did they know that at the same time nuns also dealt the elements? The nuns’ boat was rocked with waves. The bells, tolling peal nicer for ear: musical and delicate, scattered over the bottom of nuns’ boat…
The wind calmed down unexpectedly. It goes without saying that the Divine helped them. Monks blessed themselves, headed the boat toward the first bay with wide sand, having caught the eye. The admiration took their breath away; fanciful cliffs rose on the wooded brae like fantastic castles; mighty great pines stood on the sand flank of hill. A lofty marble cliff, jutted into the see, stood on the right aside monks. A cliff, less than that, was on the left.
In this very spot we will place the cross, - denoting the mighty cliff to monks, said the senior monk.
When monks drew their attention to the small cliff they saw with astonishment: a boat pulled in to it! It was the boat with survived nuns!
It seems God sends the neighbors to us, - monks guessed.
They tittle-tattled a little about the situation and began to work: that was necessary to raise the bells on the top of the cliff.
At that time, overseeing the small cliff, monks saw nuns doing the same.
They don’t want to be behindhand. – One of the monks noticed. - Do their best…
Hmm…It is easier to do the work they do. - The second monk said. – Their bells are much lighter than ours. It is impossible to compare! Otherwise we would have to help them!
The sound of nuns’ bells is gentler than ours. – The third monk said.
Exhausting work was enough for people until dark.
Morning brought delight to toilers –tiredness of yesterday disappeared! The rising Sun shone brightly, Baikal sparkled in the sunlight like diamond placer, the sky was iridescent. There was only thing to do – to peal bells.
Monks were going to strike bells, but nuns were the first to peal bells. From the side of a small cliff that was brought: be iridescent
Come! Come! Come! Come to orphans!
Monks looked at one another, delayed reciprocal ringing. They thought how to do. Now! Let’s go!
Will be! Will be! Don’t forget!
It was very long ago. Students of local history can’t still establish where and when monks and nuns of Sandy bay disappeared and where these bells are now, carried to deserted bay by a miracle.
Only names of cliffs have remained now – the Big Bell Tower and the Small Bell Tower and the name of the bay – Sandy Bay (Peschanaya). It is really one of the finest places of the Baikal!..
This story took place many years ago. Russian people had already hunted omul on the Baikal by that time. They didn’t concede in fishing to the inhabitants of the Famed Sea: to buryat and evenk tribes.
An old man Savely was the best fisherman not without reason: he was the leader of the fishermen crew and the sea was his source of living since childhood. He knew his work perfectly well. The old fisherman always could find right place and time for fishing in order to have a good catch. The family roots of the old man Savely went back to fishermen from a settlement, which was named Kabansk. Everybody knew that Kabansk fishermen were the finest ones on the Famed Sea!
The favorite place for fishing of the old man was the Barguzin bay, where he sweep-netted most often. This stretch was situated near Kabansk, but a Baikal fisherman frequently had to go farther, because it is impossible to stay at the same place searching big omul shoals.
Once in the morning after throwing sweep-nets successfully fishermen had a breakfast which consisted of fatty omul soup, took strong tea and then they placed on the sea cost line to rest. During this break they started talking about different things - mostly about fish, its habits and about mysteries of the sea deep.
There was one very inquisitive fellow in that crew. He enjoyed listening to stories of the experienced fishermen, who could teach something new and useful. If he liked something said by others, he didn’t give himself and people around him a moment’s rest; he never went to sleep without understanding everything. The name of this youngster was Garanka, he came from far away, and that’s why he wanted to know about the Famed Sea more. He always followed the old man Savely and he strived to learn something new, constantly asked him questions. Savely didn’t wait to answer as he was nice to everybody.
That time as usually Garanka sat next to the old man Savely and was listening to everything Savely was telling and then Garanka asked suddenly:
- Is it true that winds here have power over fish?
The old man Savely thought for some minutes, he looked at Garanka surprisingly and asked:
- You have heard of the barrel, haven't you?
Garanka was surprised:
- What barrel are you talking about? I don’t know anything…
- There is such... the barrel of omul. It is special, I mean the barrel. It is a magic barrel…
These words took Garanka's breath away and he began bothering the old man Savely:
- Tell me about it, please, Savely!
The old man Savely didn’t like to be persuading. He filled his pipe with tobacco and puffed at it. Seeing that not only Garanka, but all the fishermen pricked up their ears, Savely slowly started telling the story:
- This story happened because of our Baikal fish, I don’t know how many years ago it was and how people learnt about it. Old men tell so and we shall trust their words. It is necessary to mention that the giant winds named Kultuk and Barguzin lorded the fishing area at that time. First the winds were friends. What frights they were! Their bushy hair was disheveled; they splashed foam scarier than demons. If they went along the Sea, nobody could see anything. They loved visiting each other, playing and having fun. For amusement they had one miraculous toy- a barrel of omul. It looked simple and it did not differ from those barrels our coopers do now, but the barrel had an unusual power: where the barrel swam, in that direction omul fish shoals moved to, as if fish wanted to get into that barrel. It amused giants. Barguzin would swoop on Kultuk, got noisy and he would take the barrel out of the deep and started boasting:
- Look, how much fish I have caught. You have never seen such a number of fish. Try to repeat it!
Kultuk bided the time, and then he picked up the barrel, put it on the backbone of the wave and sent it back laughing:
- No, that is you who should envy my shoals- they are larger!
This game entertained them. In truth they needed neither this fish nor the wealth as they thought fish was. They simply liked spending time as mischievously as possible. Actually it was not so amusing thing to do, but they never got bored of it. To this day they could have thrown that barrel from one to another but one event had happened because of this game,
The following story happened with them.
These two bogatyrs fell in love with Sarma, who was the mountain mighty wind and the Maloye Sea's. This name the Sea got because of the fact that the island Olkhon separates it from the Great Sea, Baikal. Sarma had her own way through the waves and if she started walking, then nothing good could come of it. Her character was more severe than of Barguzin and Kultuk and also she was mightier than they were. Who would refuse to have such a mighty wife?
Once Barguzin said to Kultuk:
- I want Sarma to be my wife. I’ m going to send matchmakers to her…
Of course Kultuk did not appreciate these words but he said nothing and just added with laugh:
- She will decide on her own what to do. Besides I am not worse than you, I want to marry her too; I will send matchmakers as well. And we will see whom she will choose.
They decided it without quarrels and grudges. Soon the cormorant brought the answer from Sarma. She said:
- I do not need to get married now, but I would like to look at fiancé. I like you both. You are fine and cheery. I will decide who is better between you later, after will see who will be the first to fulfill my wish. I want you to present me your barrel of omul. I want my Maloye Sea to teem with fish too. The first who will bring me the barrel will be my husband.
The bride's whim seemed to wings simple. The only thing to do was to seize the barrel, throw it into the Maloye Sea and you could triumph over other wind and would become the fiancé.
But the task turned out to be more difficult than they expected, because nobody wanted to give up. The giants started to struggle. Hardly had Barguzin grabbed the barrel, when Kultuk knocked it out and strived to keep it and then again the barrel was in Barguzin's hand in a moment. They became so furious that their roaring was heard round the Baikal. And the barrel got it. It flew from one place to another.
Finally giants contrived and caught the barrel together and froze: neither the first nor the second could take the barrel, because they had equal strength. And when they were about to start fighting again, they noticed that the barrel slipped out of their hands and drowned…
They flew above the water surface, furious and then gradually calmed because of exhausting from useless searching. They decided to wait for surfacing of the barrel, but their hopes were vain. A day was over, then weeks and months were past...but there was no their barrel. The giant winds could not understand what had happened. They got tired of heaviness of heart and thoughts. They didn’t know what to do. Afterwards the Baikal told them he took the barrel away and hid it in the deep. From the very beginning the barrel was his gift to the winds, and when he saw that this magic barrel caused discord between them he took the barrel back. Baikal didn’t care that Kultuk and Barguzin lost Sarma. Firstly Sarma patiently waited for the end of the competition. But when she had heard of the barrel disappearance, she sent her faithful cormorant to the winds to inform that she would not get married at all, because she found it better to be alone. And she also reproached them:
- What bogatyrs are you? You even failed to keep the barrel. I am stronger than you and I will take that barrel myself.
Kultuk and Barguzin have not met each other since that time and when one wind came to the other other's wind territory, they try to avoid meeting, because they are still ashamed of loosing the barrel. And they go on looking for the barrel.
So Kultuk, Barguzin and Sarma went different ways and no one knows where the barrel is now.
The old man Savely finished telling his story and Garanka sighed as if he had just carried some heaviness on the mountain top. He always listened to the interesting story so that even his face hardened. He never interrupted the teller but he kept unclear and dim moments in mind to ask about them later. The same thing was this time.
-Maybe Sarma took this barrel, didn't she? - He asked the old man Savely.
- It is quite possible. Sarma is the strongest giant wind. Even Baikal is afraid of her a little, can not resist and he is ready to fulfill her every wish. Sarma can fool around for some time and then she suddenly grows cold to everything and gives it up. Garanka started thinking about this miraculous omul barrel hidden by father Baikal somewhere. "It would be great to find this barrel and to use it for fishing"- Garanka dreamt and he waited for a chance to find the barrel.
One day the crew began to throw sweep-net in the Barguzin bay. Fishermen worked friendly, but this time they were unlucky - the catch was scarce as hen's teeth. The second time was the same: there was no fish.
- This is no deal. - The old man Savely said. - There is no fish here. And I don’t think it will be ever. Why not sailing to the Maloye Sea to Kurkutskaya bay, maybe we will be lucky there.
They sailed to Kurkutskaya bay, put a shelter on the shore and prepared fishing tackle.
They found a very beautiful stretch. There were mighty high rocks, Mother Taiga was so impenetrable, sea-gulls and cormorants flew above water and chittered. The sun shone and warmed tenderly, sweet honey smell was in the air. Every breath was pleasant.
However the old man Savely looked at the sky and frowned:
- Today we will not be lucky. Can you see white circular dark clouds above the ravine which look like a fog and the same clouds are above them without movement on the clear sky? That is the sign for Sarma to come soon.
- Will we really meet this bogatyr woman?
- Yes, we will.
The old man Savely said this and ordered to hide everything away, and to break down the shelter, because Sarma would destroy it anyway. Hardly had they finished, when the strong wind blew from gloomy mountains and all around them became extremely dark.
The Maloye Sea was howling like a beast, old trees started cracking on the shores, and big stones fell into water from the rock cliffs.
Though Garanka felt nervous and was afraid a bit, his curiosity made him leave the shelter. He saw an ugly, tousled weaved from fog woman's head hanging above the Sea. She had greying hair, jelly-like chicks, steam was belching from her mouth and her lips were like bellows, blowing up waves round.
- What a strong she is! - Garanka said and went back to the shelter.
The old man Savely smiled:
- So, how do you find Sarma? Do you like her?
- I would prefer not to meet her!
- Yes, Garanya, everybody understands beauty in a different way. You find it terrible, but Kultuk and Barguzin consider her to be the most beautiful one.
Sarma raged for some time and then calmed. When the sun appeared again fishermen left their shelter and saw that near the camp on the sand-bank a barrel was washed ashore. There was a coal-black cormorant on the barrel. He sat not long and flew away. And a snow-white sea-gull took his place and started rummaging in her wing.
Fishermen were surprised. The same idea struck everyone: whether that was the magic barrel of omul lost by Kultuk and Barguzin? But nobody spoke. They stayed staring at the old man Savely and waited for him to speak out.
Only Garanka could not wait:
- Is that the barrel, the old man?
But the old man struck dumb and looked at the shore from under the brows. Finally he came to his senses and said to fishermen:
All the fishermen went to the sand-bank. Seeing people the sea-gull flew away. And suddenly other sea-gulls with hundreds of cormorants appeared out of the blue. All the birds began diving, taking fish and ate it.
- That is a good sign. - Savely said.
When he went to the barrel closer he understood that it was the magic barrel, it was of good quantity, and it looked nice and smelt heady.
- Well, Garanka, now we will be lucky. - said the old man to the boy and looked at the Sea which changed too. Instead of light warm and dark cold water stripes they saw calm smooth water surface without any stripes. The old man Savely got it as a good sign. He turned to the fishermen and said cheerfully:
- We will have a rich catch today.
But fishermen didn’t listen to him. They thought what they should do with the barrel and how to keep it?
- Let it be here for some time.-said Savely.
And fishermen slowly took the sweep-net and started fishing.
After throwing the sweep-net into the water they decided to take it out. The old man felt luck. Looking at the leader the rest fishermen were smiling and were about to sing the songs but didn’t want to show their joy prematurely.
Fishermen on the shore also helped to take the sweep-net out. Then fishermen on launch saw that there was some problem on the stretch and people stopped.
- What's up there? Is something with the sweep-net? - The old man Savely asked.
- We can not take it out anymore. It is too hard!
- We must help them! - The leader cried (“bashlyk” for inhabitants) to the oarsmen. All the crew was trying to take it out.
- Move! Move! – The old man commanded.
Men tried but nothing came of it. Fishermen were surprised and worried.
- A bad job…. – The bashlyk said with disappointment. He wasn’t glad anymore having caught much fish with a lucky sweep-net.
- It is obvious we can’t take it out on the shore, guys. What are we going to do?
The only thing fishermen could do was to cut the sweep-net and let fish out. They spent a lot of time to solve this problem and decided to take out the empty sweep-net.
Men did it. Late in the day the sweep-net was dried and repaired. And at that moment the old men Savely persisted in one more try.
Fishermen had no objection. .
But the second time they threw the sweep-net the same situation happened.
In the morning they didn’t go fishing, they got together and started thinking what to do. The old man Savely suggested they should throw the barrel out in the Sea. Then everything would go its usual way. Garanka lost his patience, he stood up and cried:
- Can we really throw such a barrel out, the old man? It is our great luck and we are going to refuse it?! Nobody has ever seen so much fish before! Are we fools to throw it away?
The old man Savely listened to Garanka patiently and then he said:
- You are a crank, Garanka! Is it happiness when there is much fish but you cannot take it? Let us have less fish, but fish will be in our hands. Don’t be greedy like Sarma, boy. She was bored with the omul barrel and puzzled us with it.
Garanka didn’t s";line-height: 150%"> - We will adapt. We will have plenty of fish! Now we have the barrel, but no one knows whether we will have it later.
The old man Savely replied firmly:
- Go, guys!
Unwillingly fishermen went to the barrel, looked at the barrel again and pushed it into the Sea.
- Let it sail round Baikal not in one place. - The old man Savely said. - Maybe extra fish will leave for the Great Sea Baikal. And we will catch fish always if we have enough strength and skill.
Garanka was disappointed when he saw the barrel sailing on the waves.
Suddenly the Sea and the sky turned black, dark clouds covered the sky, the wind blew up.
The old man Savely frowned:
- Barguzin has blown. We can not go fishing now. Let him play up...
Garanka heard about Barguzin and forgot about his resentment. He ran to the old man Savely:
- Will we really see this bogatyr?
- Just look at the Sea...
Garanka looked and gasped: the frightful head with huge dim eyes and white-foamed hair appeared on the horizon where the Sea meets the sky. Then string sinewy arms stretched above water and the terrible voice was heard on the Baikal:
The Sea was rough more because of that scream, Garanka became nervous:
- What a monster! It is not Sarma, but it looks very scaring..
And then Garanka noticed the magic barrel of omul in Barguzin's hands. In a flash the boy saw the barrel been thrown by the bogatyr somewhere far. Then the Sea became still, the clouds disappeared and the sun shone above water.
The old man Savely smiled:
- It seems Kultuk will come soon.
- Will we see him as well?
- I suppose so. - Savely answered.
Had he finished saying it when the sky became dark, everything started droning around. The waves rose so immense! Then the green curly head of the fright was seen and the voice like a storm roared:
In spite of the fact that Garanka expected Kultuk's coming, he was afraid a little because of terrible scream and couldn’t say a word. When he saw the barrel in Kultuk’s hands he thought: "Something is going to happen now".
Nothing happened. The Sea calmed and the sun shone again. Kultuk disappeared and the bogatyrs’ magic toy – the omul barrel also disappeared.
- So, guys. - The old man Savely said. - Kultuk and Barguzin seem to have forgotten their quarrel and they will play with the magic barrel as they did before. Now the peace is between the winds. They can’t envy each other who has more fish and who has less fish. There will be fish enough for everyone.
And again the Sea water surface was covered with bright warm stripes and dark cold ones. But this change didn’t confuse the old man Savely:
- We will catch fish the way we did before. If we work hard we will have enough fish, otherwise we and our families will be hungry. We will begin at afternoon.
Then they went to the Sea and started throwing the sweep-net and fishing. On the way back they took much fish! Fishermen cheered up. Savely turned to Garanka, grinned and said:
- Will you reproach me with the magic barrel?
Garanka smiled and said nothing.
How snow leopards became extinct in the Siberia (Как перевелись барсы в Сибири)
Ages and ages ago there was once the very old little man and he had the old horse Savraska nicknamed Lipflopper. .
The old man loved his horse very much and once he bought him new good horseshoes.
Savraska was very glad: he couldn’t admire new horseshoes enough; he couldn’t help boasting of it to neighbors.
Savraska was going and was flopping with his lips and whoever was meeting him was saying:
Wow! Savraska has new horseshoes! He is so beautiful! Hmm.. Maybe is he another Savraska?
No! This is me, Savraska the Lipflopper! – Savraska said proudly.
He went and suddenly saw a snow leopard, a stripped king of all the beasts, coming.
Savraska was numb with horror, but saw the snow leopard stood and did nothing bad; Savraska took heart and asked:
- Who are you?
- I am the king of beasts, stripped snow leopard, - And who are you?
- I am Savraska the Lipflopper, the head of all the cattle!
The snow leopard scared that now he had an adversary. He said:
- It is wrong that beasts have two leaders. It is necessary to us to wrestle with each other: which of us will win - will be a leader.
- Your idea is excellent! – Savraska said. – Let’s wrestle!
- How will we wrestle? – The snow leopard asked.
- Here are stones, - Savraska the Lipflopper said, - who can produce sparks with a foot that will be a winner. Begin!
The snow leopard tried to break stones with his paw and nothing had happened. He kicked a lot of times, his paws bled, but there wasn’t any spark.
- You are a botcher! - The Lipflopper said. - There’s no competing with me! – And he kicked the stone - Sparkles showered down.
The snow leopard was afraid of Savraska and broke into a run. Savraska the Lipflopper saw where the leopard ran and started running in the opposite direction.
The snow leopard soon met a bear. The bear asked:
- Why are you running so fast?
- I am running away from Savraska the Lipflopper!
- Ha! He is not a creature to dread! Show me where is he and I will eat him! – The Bear said.
- He is at a short distance! – The snow leopard said.
- I don’t see!
Then the leopard lifted the bear up. He held him for some time and then asked:
Do you see?
And the snow leopard didn’t notice he strangled the bear.
- Did you see? – The leopard asked the bear, lifting him down to the ground.
The bear didn’t move.
- The poor bear! – The leopard said. – He saw Savraska the Lipflopper and died of fright!
The snow leopard broke into a run faster.
He met a wolf some time later.
Why are you running so fast?
- I am running away from Savraska the Lipflopper!
- The Lipflopper is not a creature to dread! – The wolf grinned. – Show me where is he and I will kill him!
- Be careful! Won’t fall! - The snow leopard said. – Hardly the bear had seen him he died.
- I have killed about two hundreds horses and I am ok now. –the wolf boasted.
- Look! – The leopard said and lifted the wolf up. The wolf died in his mighty paws.
- What a boaster! He hadn’t time to take a good look! – The snow leopard said, hurled a dead body of the wolf and run away over distant mountains, over large forests.
Since snow leopards have become extinct.
Long time ago Mongol tribes inhabited Olkhon. They liked this island because the nature of it reminded them of their home – Mongolia, arid and sunny.
A young Mongol named Temuchin also lived there. He was born near Kerulen River. He liked knocking about the world and was a wanderer. He was a poor man and nothing kept him on Olkhon he stayed too long there.
Far from native free steppes Temuchin dreamt to have power over his nation and settle down in Karakoram – the capital of Mongolian Khans. He cherished the memory of his dream, remembered it even sleeping. Like any voluptuary with a despot soul he was cruel and heartless. He had a passion to exterminate the whole creation, to destroy everything. He thought it was impossible to fight in the wars and win without all these things.
Temuchin dreamt not only of being a Mongolian Khan, but he wanted to be the Lord of the entire world.
He often spent a lot of time on the Shore of Maloye Sea, thinking of his future, boiling favorite horse meat or fatty mutton and drinking cold koumiss from a waterskin.
Not far away from him his inseparable bay horse grazed. The horse had such clever and sad eyes that Temuchin sometimes shrank from the horse’s look. Maybe it was because Temuchin hated grief, a companion of kindness, and any doubt.
- You understand everything and conceal something from me. You don’t want to say it to me! – Temuchin said with indignation. – But I will guess your intentions!
One day Temuchin looked fixedly at his horse.
Tell me, will I be a khan?
The horse nodded its agreement.
It means I will be. And what will be next?
Eyes of the horse shone with peculiar light. Temuchin saw the sense of an answer:
- You will be one of the greatest and cruelest lords and the world will quail of your fearful deeds. You will be also known as Chingishan that means “mighty khan”. You will conquer all the Mongolian and Turkic tribes, all the nomadic people of the Gobi Desert. Having crossed over the Great Wall of China, you will compel Peking to tribute.
You will conquer Khorezm, Samarkand and Bukhara. Having conquered the Chinese, the Mergids, the Iranians, the Georgians, and the Kipchaks of course you will be famous, but you will be a corpse when you will be delivered in Karakoram.
What? – Temuchin squealed. – A corpse?!
Yes, it is. You will be a corpse. – Eyes of the horse answered. – You will kill a lot of people, blood will flow like a river, a lot of cities will be destroyed, but you will achieve nothing. All your conquests will turn out vain, useless. You will be buried at home in an unknown place. No one will ever know where your grave is.
Temuchin grew furious:
I will boil your head in the cauldron that these minds will boil away forever!
Temuchin slaughtered the horse, cut its head off and threw it into boiling water.
Years passed. All the prophecies of Temuchin’s horse came true.
For a long time the cauldron which Temuchin left on Olkhon and the skull of the horse, half-covered with sand reminded the Olkhon people of a period when the famous Asian lived on their island
The Baikal oilfish (голомянка)
Not long ago at the Baikal bottom something fantastic happened: among live-bearing Baikal oilfishes one fish was born not like others. Though this fish hadn’t scales, was transparent and had much cod liver oil her congeners wondered at her having had arms instead of scales and her eyes were another color than eyes of other Baikal oilfishes.
You are like a little mermaid from Andersen’s fairy-tales. –her friends said with envy.
The beauty Baikal oilfish was named Donyushka (Bottomgirl) because she had never left the bottom of the sea. Friends used to call her to come up to water surface and sun light but she always answered:
What will I do there? Phocas can eat me. They like to eat Baikal oilfishes very much.
But she knew the bottom of the Baikal perfectly well. Permanent deep darkness didn’t confuse Donyuhka. She saw everything like in daylight. There was a stormy life: little crayfishes, infusorian and other inhabitants swam in the deep.
What a wonderful world! What can be more attractive! – Donyushka exclaimed a lot of times.
But it was the world of darkness. Time had come Donyushka wanted to know what happened above water surface.
Not advised, Donyushka. – The wise old Baikal oilfish said. – Not any knowledge is good. Sometimes it turns out to be harm. It is impossible to not to be serious with the Sun. It give us not only life but death also. Don’t forget you consist of cod liver oil entirely!
Be glad we live in the Baikal only. We are nowhere to be found in the whole world.
Donyushka followed the fish’s advice but she couldn’t give up on her dream. Grief and depression were seen in her eyes.
After a strange dream Donyushka became anxious much more than before. She had a dream about a strange creature that appeared in blue light. The creature was so unusual that she was afraid at first. He had eyes, a nose and lips as Donyushka had, but instead of a tail he had other lower extremities. The stranger smiled and vanished.
Donyushka woke up and felt happiness in her soul.
Donyushka told about her dream to the wise Baikal oilfish. She frowned.
This was a man. – She said. – And he calls you, but you are fish, in spite of your special features. I see you long for meeting him in reality.
Of course I wish! – Donyushka confessed.
No good will come out of it, - the wise Baikal oilfish said.
For a long time she tried to convince Donyushka not to meet with a man. Donyushka hesitated – to listen to the wise fish or to disobey. This man attracted to Donyushka so much and she didn’t contain herself. ..
The bright hot sun shone when Donyushka came to the surface and sat down on a huge coastal boulder.
Everything seemed wonderful and stately to her! There weren’t such marvelous things in the deep. She was like spellbound, looked at the blue space of the sea and the blue clear sky. Sea – gulls cried, wonderful charming music was heard. Donyushka’s head began to swim. Like in the dream she saw a boat with sails and there was the fine young man in that boat who was in her dream.
The sun was scorching mercilessly.
Suddenly Donyushka felt something melted not only in her heart but she herself also began to melt. The music stopped.
Come to me! I am waiting for you! - Anxious Donyushka shouted holding her arms to the forthcoming boat. – I need to meet with you and know how it can be to live under the sun! Wait a moment, the Sun, don’t hurry to do your work, spare my life!
But Donyushka was melted away. The sun didn’t spare her.
The man sailed up to the boulder but there wasn’t Donyushka anymore.
Сказки Байкала, переведенные на английский язык. Среди сказок есть такие известные большинству сибиряков как "Чайка- Необычайка", "Богатырь Байкал", "Омулевая бочка", "Голомянка", "Как перевелись барсы в Сибири" и другие сказки. Сказки переведены мной совместно с двумя моими студентами несколько лет назад. Не судите строго.
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