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The Fire

from Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori - STORIES FOR CHILDREN





During harvest-time the men and women went out to work. In the village
were left only the old and the very young. In one hut there remained a
grandmother with her three grandchildren.

The grandmother made a fire in the oven, and lay down to rest herself.
Flies kept alighting on her and biting her. She covered her head with a
towel and fell asleep. One of the grandchildren, Masha (she was three
years old), opened the oven, scraped some coals into a potsherd, and
went into the vestibule. In the vestibule lay sheaves: the women were
getting them bound.

Masha brought the coals, put them under the sheaves, and began to blow.
When the straw caught fire, she was glad; she went into the hut and took
her brother Kiryusha by the arm (he was a year and a half old, and had
just learned to walk), and brought him out, and said to him:

"See, Kiryusha, what a fire I have kindled."

The sheaves were already burning and crackling. When the vestibule was
filled with smoke, Masha became frightened and ran back into the house.
Kiryusha fell over the threshold, hurt his nose, and began to cry; Masha
pulled him into the house, and both hid under a bench.

The grandmother heard nothing, and did not wake. The elder boy, Vanya
(he was eight years old), was in the street. When he saw the smoke
rolling out of the vestibule, he ran to the door, made his way through
the smoke into the house, and began to waken his grandmother; but she
was dazed from her sleep, and, forgetting the children, rushed out and
ran to the farmyards to call the people.

In the meantime Masha was sitting under the bench and keeping quiet; but
the little boy cried, because he had hurt his nose badly. Vanya heard
his cry, looked under the bench, and called out to Masha:

"Run, you will burn!"

Masha ran to the vestibule, but could not pass for the smoke and fire.
She turned back. Then Vanya raised a window and told her to climb
through it. When she got through, Vanya picked up his brother and
dragged him along. But the child was heavy and did not let his brother
take him. He cried and pushed Vanya. Vanya fell down twice, and when he
dragged him up to the window, the door of the hut was already burning.
Vanya thrust the child's head through the window and wanted to push him
through; but the child took hold of him with both his hands (he was very
much frightened) and would not let them take him out. Then Vanya cried
to Masha:

"Pull him by the head!" while he himself pushed him behind.

And thus they pulled him through the window and into the street.




Next: The Old Horse

Previous: The Peasant And The Cucumbers



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