Наталия Куконина

Я — Наталия Куконина, живу в г.Черновцы (Украина). Преподаю английский язык в университете. Пишу поэзию и прозу на украинском, русском и английском языках. Занимаюсь художественным переводом. По-английски начала писать в Англии во время пребывания в Шумахер колледже при Плимутском университете. Публиковалась в отечественных и зарубежных литературных сборниках и журналах. Издано три книги. Лауреат и дипломант международных литературных конкурсов («Премия им. О. Бешенковской» — Лейпциг, 2014; «Корнейчуковская премия» — Одесса, 2015, 2016; «Русский стиль» — Штутгарт, 2015; Карлсруэ, 2016).


Отрывок из произведения «HOW TALES WERE READING EACH OTHER»

Once upon a time there lived Fairy Tales. But they were not just tales – they were fairies – Tale Fairies. And they were friends. They were even more than friends – they were sisters. That’s why they had their common family name –Tale.  But every Tale had a personal name as well – Magic, Starry, Cold, Laughing, Sunny, Heavenly, Smoky, Flying, Blooming, Tasty, and Evergreen.

They were eleven – eleven intelligent beauties – bright, naughty and light-hearted. But a little sad at times. Why did they look upset and despondent every now and then? Why did tears ring in their merry-go-round voices from time to time? Because nobody was reading them!

One day the Tale Fairies decided: Away with sadness! No readers? Then let’s read each other – it will only do good to our friendship and sisterhood!




In an antique book-case together with other wise books there lived a Tale.  It was very amusing, kind, and merry. It had lovely pictures and a happy end. But it was very unhappy itself. Why?  Have you seen anyone who is happy at the age of 200? The Tale was exactly that age. Although it had kept on during all those 200 years, at the age of 201 it began to get old, its letters were not so distinct any more, and its pictures lost their bygone brightness. Of course, if the Tale had moved it would have never happened so, because movement is life.

But the Tale had stayed on the shelf for many years, it breathed in the dust of ages and got bored. Nobody read it! That’s why the Tale wanted to die. To die is to become waste paper. You may be surprised: how come nobody read the Tale if it was so interesting and amusing? But people didn’t read the Tale because a famous French writer who probably didn’t know any other language wrote it in French. If the Tale had lived, for example, in Paris, it would have been read a thousand times already. But who of children if they don’t live in France knows French now?

Once a little boy Misha found the Tale on the shelf. He felt like reading it, but he could only leaf through and look at the pictures.

‘Granny!’ said the boy in embarrassment. ‘Why don’t I understand anything?’

‘Because the Tale is in French’, explained his Grandmother.

‘So I will never read it?’

‘You will, if you learn French.’

‘I’d love to!’

And Grandmother taught Misha to read, speak and even write in French. Although studying was not easy for the boy, he did it.

The happy day came – for Misha, his Granny, and, certainly, for the Tale. The boy took it off the shelf, carefully opened and began to read. And the Tale got younger as if it were a fairy (but she was! and it Was a Fairy Tale!). Its letters didn’t stagger from old age any more, and the pictures returned to their bygone colours. It became even more interesting and amusing; and its happy end – the happiest among happy ends. Because  the  Tale  was  happy itself!   



                      (ABOUT THE  FLYING  SAUCER)


Once upon a time there was a Lady Saucer. She lived in our sideboard together with other dishes. She differed from them all by her ancient origin. Her great Grandmother came from China – the birth place of beautiful porcelain things. Her Mother served as a Holiday Dish at the tsar’s court.

Lady Saucer could have had a better fate too. If she had not appeared in our kitchen. But she didn’t lose hope for the future…

Once Lady Saucer had a strange dream: hundreds of flashing flying saucers were twinkling in the star-studded sky; She was one of them. In the morning, after breakfast, when all the dishes, clean and drying, were having a rest in the sideboard, Lady Saucer told them about her dream and announced that She had to leave them that very night.

‘Don’t  dr-dr-drivel!’ clinked and clanked the pots and pans. The glasses tinkled with laughter. And the Ladle warned her pompously , ‘You will break!’

But Lady Saucer made her dream come true. At night She flew out of the sideboard, made one last circle around the kitchen and slipped through the open window.

Just at that moment Andrey entered the kitchen. ‘Wait!’ he cried to her, ‘Let me take a picture of you!’ She agreed and stopped in mid air, shining, bright blue and happy. That is how She looks in the photo that Andrey keeps and sometimes shows to his friends. They ask him with surprise, “Weren’t you lucky to have snapped a shot of a  real  flying  saucer?”







It was sitting in a crystal bowl as if It were on a tsar’s throne. It was snow-white, cold and proud. ‘It is so delicious!’ children were twittering without daring to lick It.

Everybody was waiting for the guests. So was It avoiding any talks with candies, peppermints, pastries, strawberries and cherries. And even Cake was confused by It. Cake seemed to realize that he was the Head of that tasty gathering, but his dark chocolate skin contrasted with the whiteness of that stranger preventing him from feeling his natural optimism. At last a light-hearted Orange lost his patience and rolled towards It to strike up a conversation. ‘Hello!’ he beamed, ‘Who are you?’  ‘I  AM  ICE  CREAM’, It slowly replied and, looking snobbish, breathed icy cold out onto the Orange. The Orange’s skin was immediately covered with tiny pimples. ‘Why are you  so proud ?!’ he cried out having rolled as far as he could away from the bowl. ‘BECAUSE I  AM THE MOST  DELICIOUS   AMONG  YOU  ALL’, Ice Cream let its words fall. ‘It should be proved!’ red–cheeked strawberries shouted. ‘How arrogant, boastful and haughty you are!’ broke out the candies. ‘It is not polite to cock one’s nose’, Cake chocolated tolerantly.  Ice Cream answered back and began to prove Its merits. By and by It got so burning hot that It started melting.

When the guests sat down at the table, they tried Ice Cream first. But they didn’t like It at all. So warm and watery It was. ‘It is tasteless’, they complained. Ice Cream felt so insulted that It began to weep bitterly with sweet tears. Shortly after It turned to a small white puddle with tiny isles of ice on the bottom of the bowl. But there were lots of dainties on the table, so in a minute everyone forgot about Ice Cream and set to black chocolate  cake, yellow  oranges  and  red  strawberries.





‘Wow, how very cold!’ He was thinking while creeping out from the chimney and curling upwards.  And a strange thought struck him suddenly, and He even leaned aside, and nearly fell down on the ground – ‘WHO AM I ?’ His ash-gray rings turned raspberry red when the setting sun touched them, and floated up like balloons. ‘I am probably balloons’, He was musing, ‘Only why ain’t I colourful ? Or am I doughnuts? They are my colour. But why am I flying then? Maybe I am curls? Maybe a little sheep’s wool was sheared or a little girl’s hair was trimmed, and the curls took off  and flew away? I might also be a snake. But I don’t fancy snakes. And for what would it need to crawl up into the sky if it lives on the ground? Most likely I am curls.” He decided so and set at rest, and merrily drifted into the sky higher and higher, faster and faster. Suddenly He became straight, went deep-grey, and got upset, ‘Then… I am not curls?’

‘Look!’ He heard children crying and pointing to him. They had just run out of the house into the yard, ‘Look! How huge…’

‘Who?’ He asked them and bent down lower to hear their answer.

‘How beautiful…’, children were crying out.

‘So who?’ He bowed even lower, losing patience and energy.

‘Smoke! Smoke!’ children answered in chorus, jumping up to touch him.

‘Then I AM SMOKE. Now I know WHO I AM!’ the Smoke turned blue with pleasure  and smoked out his final breath. That breath floated away in the blue dusk.

Do you think the Smoke vanished, disappeared or melted? Nothing of the kind. He kept flying and circling about for some time and at last landed on… little Ulianka’s head. He settled down in her curls, and they became slightly smoke-coloured.

It is so natural, isn’t it? Because if you know who you are, you are sure to do what you dream of.


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