Wee Little Havroshechka
Wee Little Havroshechka
There are good people in the world
and some who are not so good. There are also people who are shameless in their
Wee Little Havroshechka had the bad
luck to fall in with such as these. She was an orphan and these people took her
in and brought her up, only to make her work till she couldn't stand. She wove
and spun and did the housework and had to answer for everyth ing.
Now the mistress of the house had
three daughters. The eldest was called One-Eye, the second Two-Eyes, and the
youngest Three-Eyes. The three sisters did nothing all day but sit by the gate
and watch what went on in the street, while Wee Little Havroshe chka sewed,
spun and wove for them and never heard a kind word in return.
Sometimes Wee Little Havroshechka
would go out into the field, put her arms round the neck of her brindled cow
and pour out all her sorrows to her.
"Brindled, my dear," she
would say, "they beat me and scold me, they don't give me enough to eat,
and yet they forbid me to cry. I am to have five pounds of flax spun, woven,
bleached and rolled by tomorrow."
And the cow would say in reply,
"My bonny lass, you have only to climb into one of my ears and come out
through the other and your work will be done for you." And just as
Brindled said, so it was. Wee Little Havroshechka would climb into one of the
cow's ears and come out through the other, and behold! there lay the cloth, all
woven and bleached and rolled. Little Havroshechka would then take the rolls of
cloth to her mistress, who would look at them and grunt, and put them away in a
chest and give Wee Little Havroshechka even more work to do.
And Wee Little Havroshechka would go
to Brindled, put her arms round her and stroke her, climb into one of her ears
and come out through the other, pick up the ready cloth and take it to her
One day the old woman called her
daughter One-Eye to her and said, "My good child, my bonny child, go and
see who helps the orphan with her work. Find out who spins the thread, weaves
the cloth and rolls it."
One-Eye went with Wee Little
Havroshechka into the woods and she went with her into the fields, but she
forgot her mother's command and she basked in the sun and lay down on the grass.
And Havroshechka murmured, "Sleep, little eye, sleep!"
One-Eye shut her eye and fell
asleep. While she slept, Brindled wove, bleached and rolled the cloth. The
mistress learned nothing, so she sent for her second daughter, Two-Eyes.
"My good child, my bonny child,
go and see who helps the orphan with her work."
Two-Eyes went with Wee Little
Havroshechka, but she forgot her mother's commend and she basked in the sun and
lay down on the grass. And Wee Little Havroshechka murmured, "Sleep,
little eye! Sleep, the other little eye!" Two-Eyes shut her eyes a nd she
dozed off. While she slept, Brindled wove, bleached and rolled the cloth.
The old woman was very angry and on
the third day she told her third daughter, Three-Eyes, to go with Wee Little
Havroshechka, to whom she gave more work than ever. Three-Eyes played and
skipped about in the sun until she was so tired that she lay down o n the
grass. And Wee Little Havroshechka sang out, "Sleep, little eye! Sleep,
the other little eye!"
But she forgot all about the third
little eye. Two of Three-Eyes' eyes fell asleep, but the third looked on and
saw everything. It saw Wee Little Havroshechka climb into one of the cow's ears
and come out through the other and pick up the ready cloth.
Three-Eyes came home and told her
mother what she had seen. The old woman was overjoyed, and on the very next day
she went to her husband and said, "Go and kill the brindled cow."
The old man was astonished and tried
to reason with her. "Have you lost your wits, old woman?", he said.
"The cow is a good one and still young."
"Kill it and say no more,"
the wife insisted.
There was no help for it, and the
old man began to sharpen his knife. Wee Little Havroshechka found out all about
it and she ran to the field and threw her arms around Brindled.
"Brindled, dearie," she
said, "they want to kill you!"
And the cow replied, "Do not
grieve, my bonny lass, but do what I tell you. Take my bones, tie them up in a
kerchief, bury them in the garden and water them every day. Do not eat of my
flesh and never forget me."
The old man killed the cow, and Wee
Little Havroshechka did as Brindled had told her. She went hungry, but she
would not touch the meat, and she buried the bones in the garden and watered
them every day.
After a while an apple tree grew out
of them, and a wonderful tree it was! Its apples were round and juicy, its
swaying boughs were of silver, and its rustling leaves were of gold. Whoever
drove by would stop to look, and whoever came near marveled.
A long time passed by and a little
time. One day One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes were out walking in the garden.
And who should chance to be riding by at the time but a young man, handsome and
strong and rich and curly-haired. When he saw the juicy apples he stopped and
said to the girls teasingly, "Fair maidens! Her I will marry amongst you
three who brings me an apple off yonder tree."
And off rushed the sisters to the
apple tree, each trying to get ahead of the others. But the apples which had
been hanging very low and seemed within easy reach now swung up high in the air
above the sisters' heads. The sisters tried to knock them down, but the leaves
came down in a shower and blinded them. They tried to pluck the apples off, but
the boughs caught in their braids and unplaited them. Struggle and stretch as
they might, they could not reach the apples and only scratched their hands.
Then Wee Little Havroshechka walked
up to the tree, and at once the boughs bent down and the apples came into her
hands. She gave an apple to the handsome young stranger and he married her.
From that day on she knew no sorrow, and she and her husband lived happily ever
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