Ирина Дружаева

Творчеством увлекаюсь с 2000 года. Пишу стихи и прозу для детей, сценарии фильмов. Есть изданные книги и публикации в литературных журналах. Лауреат нескольких международных литературных и сценарного конкурсов. Занимаюсь декоративно-прикладным творчеством: создаю декоративные глиняные панно и авторских кукол. Создала арт-галерею, где выставляю интересных художников (прошли выставки художников из Нижнего Новгорода, Москвы, Франции).

Рождественская сказка «Невероятная рождественская история»


The evening street sparkled and glittered with changeable lights of illumination.
Along the street next to all the shops and houses one could see small Christmas trees decorated with tinsel and placed in the pots.
Even doors looked differently thanks to the beautiful feast boasting their smart spruce wreaths twined all over with glass beads, balls and bells. All this magnificence tinkles, rustles and sounds in a musical way.
The feeling of the holiday deepens by the aroma of the fir needles, tangerines and vanilla floating around.
Swisher has stopped for a while under the confectioner’s windows, inhaled tempting smell.
She used to like this holiday with its street fuss, bright lights and colours, lots of tasty meals, waiting for her at any dump…
Could it really be her, Swisher, running around efficiently only a couple of hours ago at the happy thought of the coming holiday and expecting the Christmas wonder?
And the irreparable thing took place instead…
Swisher was dragging her despondently along the buildings.
White milky drops fall down of her swaying belly. The milk that nobody needs any more…
They were so cute, tiny and helpless, her last-born cubs…
Swisher understood it was just so.
She was old. She did not have cubs for some years. All her previous sons and daughters dispersed around the town in the search of their own destinies.
That last brood was really very important for Swisher. All the tenderness and strength of the mother’s love left in her aging body was put into those little ones.
For the first time her premonition, the premonition of an unavoidable danger failed her.
She had been searching the place for the nook for such a long time, making it cosy and warm for her future cubs…
Having studied all the streets, houses and their basements during her long life, Swisher knew so many secrets, cosy nooks and hide-outs indeed, which she had used many times before.
But all of a sudden for that very event, very important for her, she had chosen the basement of a new house. She made her cosy nook among the warm pipes behind the light partition, and covered it with soft cotton wool and coloured patches, collected all over the neighbourhood.
The cubs came into the world just here only some days ago. Not for a single moment did Swisher leave them alone suckling and licking them clean.
But for Swisher herself the food supply ran out, and she had to make short outings to the nearest dump to have a hurried meal, and then to the basement, to her kids, as quick as possible.
Here today in the morning the hunger again turned Swisher out of her nook. She digged in the nearest refuse bin for some time, found gnawed cheese and a potato peeling and hurried back.
There was something uneasy at heart that made her hurry back. But the thing Swisher had faced in the basement lacerated her heart…
Never before had she felt such a hard blow, such a grief. She had to lose one or even two cubs out of the brood before, as lots of dangers caught them outside the burrow. But today’s blow, which did away with everybody at once, her little ones…
“I couldn’t safeguard them, couldn’t safeguard them, I wasn’t in time…” This thought in Swisher’s mind sounded louder than the beats of her heart.
The thing which made her new nook so cozy and warm was just the thing which ruined it…
All of a sudden the pipe of the central heating burst and inundated the basement.
Having come back, Swisher faced a mournful spectacle. The water from the basement had been already pumped out, but while the pipe had been repairing, the part of the partition behind which Swisher had her nook had been destroyed, too.
There was neither the nook, nor her cubs anymore…
At first Swisher rushed about the basement, then about the rubbish which had been taken out of the basement and placed in the yard of the house—bits of the pipes and trash remains kept there for years.
After hot moist air of the basement she was chilled to the marrow out despite the light frost.
Swisher did her best and put up with the loss.
But because of the misfortune the wish to live and be active disappeared, and her recent joy died.
Even the sensations vanished, she suddenly stopped to distinguish the sounds, saw the light, perceived the smells.

She kept sitting on the ill-fated dust heap, that killed her love and hope, and kept be frozen silently. And without any doubt she would have been dead if she had been here for an hour or two more. But people did not want to keep the rubbish under their windows at Christmas.
The wheelbarrow began to creak, the spades tumbled. The instinct made half- frozen rat crawl away into a dark corner watching her hook’s remains disappearing in the paunch of the wheelbarrow.
Nearby somebody rustled and sneezed:
“It’s better for you to go away from here, Swisher! You’d be frozen! I’ve seen everything… Nothing can be changed… Put up with it… You’ve got so many hide-outs, go there and keep your bed. And if you wish, we can go together to the dump just round the corner—there’re a lot of tasty things there, ahchoo!”—rasped a male-rat Sneezer by name, who caught a chill all the time.
Swisher did not even budge and did not answer. So Sneezer signed, sneezed again, and disappeared in the darkness. “And he is not so wicked, that very Sneezer,” Swisher thought to herself listlessly, and really, it’s high time to go. The question only is—Where? Doesn’t she know where? Of course, there, to the remote dark lane in the outskirts of the neighbourhood!
Swisher needs the goal to get rid of the numbness.
“How could I have forgotten? I always go there just at this night. Just there my Star is seen best of all as if it sparkles out of the dark well. I have always asked it to make some trifles come true! And today I will ask it for a wonder! Swisher forced her to get up. Her wet swaying belly hardened on the cold ground. And she went, went because now she had the goal—to get to the remote lane, to the sacred heap. And then — come what may…
Swisher was a clever rat, very careful, brave, cunning and capable of great endurance. She was known by all the relations in the neighbourhood. Many of them envy her luck and the kind of perhaps, the sixth sense which helped her to avoid traps and danger. All stray Tom and Pussy-cats of the neighbourhood knew about her courage and strength of her sharp teeth. Even they prefer not to have anything to do with Swisher, restricting only with idle threats and insults such as “a ragged mouse” trying to hold a great distance away from an “abnormal” rat.
Life itself made her be such one to survive.
That’s why Swisher differed from the others. Like any ‘rara avis’ in a flock of birds, Swisher had to get over a lot—rejection, mockery and aggressiveness of the rat pack. Besides Swisher’s skin was …white.
And she also remembered another lifestyle, her happy childhood, replete with food, among the people. Once Swisher was a favourite pet. She remembered her master who used to stroke and caress the white tiny rat and give her some treats.

Swisher stopped in the shadow of the porch looking at the door of the house decorated with toys and garlands. She closed her eyes recollecting the first Christmas in her life.
Her memories were as bright as the holiday decorations of the street. Here she is, Swisher, a cute white cub, climbs the master’s shoulder. The table lamp radiates the pleasant warmth; a young rat gets into the master’s grey beard.

The man laughs, taking Swisher out of the beard, and puts her on the table. There is an orange fruit with a strange smell on the table. The master peels the tangerine and gives Swisher a section. She bites its pulp and puckers because of the sour taste, letting the pulp bit go down. Then the master gives the young rat a piece of cheese. Swisher smells it and eats the piece enjoying the favourite treat.

She also recollects the aroma of the Christmas tree in the middle of the room. And the box full of coloured toys nearby. Swisher gets into the box, takes a golden fir-cone into her paws, looks at it with admiration and gives the fir-cone to the master.
And the present, the first holiday present in her life? Is it possible to forget? The master gives Swisher the Christmas biscuit, the red marzipan heart-shaped biscuit.
She admires it and hides the biscuit in her cage She admires it and hides the biscuit in her cage.

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