Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Information

Author: Alexander Afanasyev - 1855

Translated into English
  by Kathleen Cook

Original title (Russian):
Зимовье зверей

Country of origin: Russia

Translations

English - aligned


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The Animals' Winter Home

Alexander Afanasyev / Kathleen Cook

A bull was walking through the forest, when he met a ram. "Where are you going, ram?" asked the bull. "Away from winter to find summer," said the ram. "Come with me!" So off they went together. On the way they met a pig. "Where are you going, pig," said the bull. "Away from winter to find summer," replied the pig. "Come with us!" The three of them set off. On the way they met a goose. "Where are you going, goose?" asked the bull. "Away from winter to find summer," replied the goose. "Well, follow us!" So the goose followed them. On the way they met a rooster. "Where are you going, rooster?" asked the bull. "Away from winter to find summer," replied the rooster. "Follow us." They went on their way and began to talk among themselves: "What shall we do, brothers? The cold season is coming. How shall we keep warm?" And the bull said to them: "Let's build a house, or we'll freeze to death in the winter." The ram said: "I've got a nice warm coat—just look at the fleece! I'll get through the winter alright." The pig said: "I'm not afraid of any frosts, I'll bury myself in the ground and get through the winter without a house." The goose said: "And I'll perch in a fir tree, lie on one wing and cover myself with the other. The cold won't hurt me. I'll get through the winter easily." "So will I!" said the rooster. The bull saw it was no good, he'd have to do it on his own. "Do as you like," he said, "but I'm going to build a house." So he built himself a house and went to live in it.
A cold frosty winter came and chilled the animals to the marrow. There was nothing for it, so the ram went to the bull and said: "Let me in to get warm, brother." "No, ram, you've got a nice warm coal. You'll get through the winter alright. Go away." "If you don't let me in, I'll butt your house and knock out a log, then you'll be cold." The bull thought for a while: "I'd better let him in or I'll freeze to death too," and he let the ram in. Then the pig got cold and came to the bull: "Let me in to get warm, brother." "No, I won't. You can bury yourself in the ground and get through the winter like that!" "If you don't let me in, I'll dig round the posts with my snout and bring your house down." There was nothing for it, so the bull let the pig in. Then up came the goose and the rooster: "Let us in to get warm, brother." "No, I won't. You've each got two wings, you can lie on one and cover yourself with the other. You'll get through the winter easily." "If you don't let me in," said the goose, "I'll peck all the moss from the chinks in your walls, then you'll be cold." "So you won't let me in, eh?" said the rooster. "Then I'll fly up and scrape all the straw off the roof. That'll make you
cold." There was nothing for it, so the bull let the goose and the rooster in too.
So they all lived together in the house. The rooster warmed up and began singing songs. A fox heard the rooster singing and longed to gobble up this tasty morsel, but how was she to catch him? She hatched a cunning plan, went to the bear and the wolf and said: "I have found some fine fare for each of us, dear masters: a bull for you, bear, a ram for you, wolf, and a rooster for myself." "Well done, mistress," said the bear and the wolf. "We shall not forget your kind service! Let us go and finish them off, then eat them."
The fox took them to the house. "Open the door, master," she said to the bear. "I will go in first and eat the rooster." The bear opened the door, and the fox ran into the house. The bull saw her and straightway pinned her against the wall with his horns, while the ram butted her sides until she gave up the ghost. "Why is she taking so long over the rooster?" said the wolf. "Open the door, friend Bruin! I'll go in now." "Very well, off you go." The bear opened the door, and the wolf ran into the house. The bull pinned him against the wall with his horns, while the ram butted his sides, and they gave him such a welcome that the wolf soon breathed his last. The bear waited and waited. "Why is he taking so long over the ram? I'd better go in." In he went, and the bull and the ram gave him the same welcome, but he managed to fight his way out and ran away as fast as his legs would carry him.