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Story No. 1124


Story of the Tom-Cat and the Cock

Book Name:

Tales of Yukaghir, Lamut, and Russianized Natives of Eastern Siberia

Tradition: Siberia

There lived a Tom-Cat and a Cock. The Tom-Cat went to fetch fuel, and ordered the Cock to bake pancakes. Meanwhile there came a She-Fox and sang: –

                    "O Cock, my Cock! let me in!

                    We two shall play with little gold rings."

But the Cock refused to let her in. Then she sang again: –

                    "O Cock, my Cock! the golden crest,

                    The battered head, the silken beard,

                    Permit me at least to warm one single nail."

The Cock felt compassion, and pierced with a needle a little hole in the window-skin. The She-Fox thrust her nail in through the hole, and tore off the window-skin. Then she caught the Cock and carried him off through the window. The Cock sang aloud: –

                    "O Cat, my Cat!

                    The Fox is carrying me off

                    Beyond the dark forest,

                    Beyond the high mountains,

                    Beyond the white rocks,

                    Beyond the round lakes."

                   

                    "Котъ, мой коть,

                    Несетъ меня лиса

                    За темные лѣца,

                    За высокіа горы,

                    За бѣлыя каменья,

                    За круглыя озерья."

But the cat heard nothing and the Cock cried again: –

                    "O Cat, my Cat!

                    The Fox is carrying me off

                    Beyond the dark forest,

                    Beyond the high mountains,

                    Beyond the white rocks,

                    Beyond the round lakes."

The Cat heard this time, and chased the Fox. He swung over her head his mighty sword, but she slipped into her furrow and was gone. So the Cock went to market and bought for himself a fine dulcimer. Then he came to the Fox's house, and sang thus: –

                    "Jingle, jingle, my fine dulcimer,

                    My golden one, my sonorous one!

                    Are you at home, O my red fox!

                    In your warm nest?

                    The first daughter of yours is the Small-Stuffed-One,

                    The second daughter is Palachelka.[1]

                    The son is Valorous.[2]

                    He went up the sky

                    Clap my little staff

                    At the oaken door-sill.

                    Bring me, O fox!

                    An oven-baked cake."

                   

                    "Брянь, брянь, гусельтсы,

                    Золотыя, звончатыя,

                    Дома ли лиса красна

                    Во тепломъ гиѣздѣ?

                    Перва дочь Чучелка,

                    Другая Палачелка,

                    Сынъ хороыеръ

                    Подъ неЕеса ушелъ.

                    Цтукъ черешекъ

                    О дуЕовый порожокъ.

                    Подай, лиса,

                    Подовый пирожокъ."

So the Fox said to the Small-Stuffed-One, "Go and give him this oven-baked-cake." She went with the cake, but he struck her on the head and killed her.

                    "He hid the carcass under the sand,

                    And the little skin under a heavy stone,

                    Lest the people see anything."

                   

                    А Куреньгу подъ песокъ,

                    А кожишку подъ тяжелый камешокъ,

                    Чтобъ люди не вигали.

Then he sang again: –

                    "Jingle, jingle, my fine dulcimer,

                    My golden one, my sonorous one!

                    Are you at home, O fox!

                    In your warm nest?

                    You are

                    Quite fair of face,

                    But your husband is unfair.

                    Clap my little staff

                    Upon the oaken door-sill,

                    Bring me, O Fox!

                    An oven-baked-cake."

                    An oven-baked-cake."

                   

                    "Брянь, брянь, гусельтсы

                    Золотыя, звончатыя,

                    Дома ли лиса

                    Во тепломъ гиѣздѣ?

                    Она сама

                    Литсомъ красна,

                    У ней мужъ не хорошъ.

                    Стукъ черешокъ

                    О дубовый порожокъ.

                    Подай, лиса,

                    Подовый пирожокъ."

"Ah," said the Fox, "go, Palachelka, and give him this oven-baked cake." She went with the cake but he killed her likewise. Then he sang again: –

                    "Jingle, jingle, my fine dulcimer,

                    My golden one, my sonorous one!

                    Are you at home, O fox!

                    In your warm nest?

                    You are

                    Quite fair of face,

                    But your husband is unfair.

                    Clap my little staff

                    Upon the oaken door-sill,

                    Bring me, O Fox!

                    An oven-baked-cake."

"Ah!" said the Fox, "Go, little Cock, and give him this oven-baked cake!"

The Cock went with the cake, but the Tom-Cat caught the Cock and hurried back to his home. [3]He gave the cock a sound thrashing. "Another time, whoever comes, you must not forget to keep the door tightly closed." After that they lived happily.

Comments:

Told by Mary Shkuleff, a Russian creole girl, aged fourteen, in the village of Pokhotsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.

This is the Kolyma version of the well-known Old World story. Among the Russians of Europe several versions of it are known, mostly in rhymed prose. The Kolyma version is also in rhymed prose; but its form seems to be more ancient, and some of its details are not without interest – W. B.

[1] The meaning of this name is unknown. Both names are of local, probably Yukaghir, provenience – W. B.

[2] This and the following line are probably inserted from an ancient conundrum. "The mother is thick, the daughter is red, the son is valorous, went up the sky. – Oven, fire, smoke." (Мать толста, дочь красна, сынъ хороберъ, подъ небеса ушелъ). – W.B.

[3] According to another version, likewise from the Kolyma, the Tom-Cat killed also the mother Fox. He found the Cock firmly frozen in a block of ice, lying in the corner. He broke the ice, and thawed the Cock's body before the fire. The Cock came to life, and crowed lustily – W. B.

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