Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Information

Author: Alexander Afanasyev - 1855

Translated into English
  by Irina Zheleznova

Original title (Russian):
Волк и коза

Country of origin: Russia

Translations

English - aligned


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The Wolf and the Goat

Alexander Afanasyev / Irina Zheleznova

There was once a goat who built herself a little house in the woods and gave birth to a family of kids. The mother goat would often go out to seek for food, and the kids would lock the door behind her and never so much as show their noses outside. The mother goat would come back, knock at the door and sing out:

"My kiddies own, my children dear,
Open the door, for your mother is here!
By a stream I walked, on a grass-grown bank,
Of fresh grass I ate, of cool water drank;
I bring you milk which is rich and sweet,
It runs from my udder down to my feet!"

The kids would open the door and let in their mother, the mother goat would feed them and go off to the woods again, and they would lock the door behind her just as they had before.

Now, the wolf heard the mother goat call to her kids, and one day when she had just gone out, he stole up to the house and cried in his gruff voice:

"My kiddies own, my children dear,
Open the door, for your mother is here.
I bring you milk which is rich and sweet,
It runs from my udder down to my feet!"

And the kids called back: "We hear you, whoever you are, but that isn't our mother's voice. Mother's voice is thin and sweet and the words she says are different." The wolf went away and hid himself, and after a while the mother goat came back home. She knocked at the door and sang out:

"My kiddies own, my children dear,
Open the door, for your mother is here!
By a stream I walked, on a grass-grown bank,
Of fresh grass I ate, of cool water drank;
I bring you milk which is rich and sweet,
It runs from my udder down to my feet!"

The kids let in their mother and told her about the wolf and about how he had wanted to eat them up. The mother goat fed the kids, and, before leaving for the woods, told them very sternly indeed that if anyone came to the house, asked to be let in in a gruff voice and not used the very same words as she they were not to let him in on any account. She had no sooner left than the wolf came running up. He knocked at the door and sang out in a thin little voice:

"My kiddies own, my children dear,
Open the door, for your mother is here.
By a stream I walked, on a grass-grown bank,
Of fresh grass I ate, of cool water drank;
I bring you milk which is rich and sweet,
It runs from my udder down to my feet!"

The kids opened the door, and the wolf rushed in and gobbled them all up save for one little kid who had crawled into the stove and hidden himself there.

By and by the mother goat came home, but call and shout as she would no one answered her. She gave the door a push, and seeing that it was unlocked, ran inside. The house was empty, but she glanced into the stove, and lo!—found one little kid there. Great was the mother goat's grief when she heard what had happened to her children. Down she dropped on the bench and began sobbing loudly, saying over and over again:

"O my children dear, my kiddies own,
Why did I ever leave you alone?
For the wicked wolf you opened the door,
Never, I fear, will I see you more!"

The wolf heard her, and, coming into the house, said: "Why do you make me out to be such a villain, Mistress Goat? I would never eat your kids! Do not grieve but come for a walk in the woods with me." "No, Mister Wolf, I'm in no mood for a walk." "Please come, please!" the wolf begged.

They went to the woods and soon came to a hole in the ground with a fire burning in it. It had been used by some robbers for cooking gruel in and they had not doused the flames. "Come, Wolf, let us see which of us can jump over the hole!" said the mother goat. To this the wolf agreed. He leapt across, but tripped and fell into the fire. His belly burst open from the heat, and out the kids hopped, safe and sound, and ran straight to their mother. And they lived happily ever after. The wiser from year to year they grew and never a day of misfortune knew.