Здравствуйте! Позвольте представиться: я, Татьяна де Вриз, 41 год, пол женский, высшее экономическое образование и разносторонние взгляды на жизнь 🙂 Я начала писать стихи в возрасте 6 лет, иногда публиковалась в газетах. Жизнь коротка, и я хотела — и все еще хочу — жить счастливо. В конце концов, чтобы получить возможность путешествовать по миру и наслаждаться новыми впечатлениями, я оставила стабильную карьеру и начала свой собственный бизнес, который сейчас очень неплохо идет. Но невозможно обманывать себя. И однажды я поняла, что больше не могу жить, как все, — и не писать. Я начала писать по ночам, потому что работа занимает все дневное время, а вечером — семья. Мой муж — голландец, и, в отличие от большинства русских мужчин, он очень помогал мне с детьми. Без него не было бы этой сказки, без него не будет ее продолжения. Это всего лишь первая сказка, начинающая цикл из семи историй, которые животные и птицы рассказывают друг другу в заколдованном Лесу раз в году в течение недели — одна сказка на каждый день недели. Я стремлюсь выиграть, как и все остальные конкурсанты:), но, даже если мне не повезет, я продолжу писать, потому что просто не могу иначе.
Отрывок из произведения «Tales of Old Raven»
DAY ONE. TALES OF AN OLD RAVEN.
Once upon a time, long ago… In those years, they say honey was sweeter, girls prettier, and rivers flowed the other way. If you listened to old men, many things undreamt and unheard of would be revealed to you. At first you would have been at a loss as to whether there was any truth in this crafty story told by the oven where birch logs cracked merrily, or whether the story had just been made up for the sake of its witty content. But mind you, what I am about to tell you is perfectly true, and should any of you disbelieve me, just come and pay us a visit at the edge of the Forest. Any bird here will assure you that I have never fooled a living soul, and if my yarns are embroidered a little from time to time, then whose aren’t? You have my word as a raven – and my word is quite precious as I turned three hundred years old last summer. Know that I have done my best to be true to my word.
Kraa-aa, kraa-aa… old Raven made quite a din as he flew from the top of the huge wide-spreading oak to its very lowest branch, so that he could be in better sight of the forest critters gathered below on the meadow. Everyone and his uncle were there! Sables in their posh coats were sitting peacefully next to foxes and martens, while rabbits favored a broad old stump sticking up by itself in the middle of the meadow. They all made themselves comfortable in anticipation of the story. Bear stretched himself on the thorny branches of a raspberry bush, assuring his friends that his thick fur and skin would prevent him from feeling the paltry stings of the thorns. ‘Look how calm, how reserved he is!’ the animals exclaimed admiringly. It was only Hedgehog who frowned at such comments and said something to the effect that not everyone was able to spend their lives sleeping on prickly spines. However, the other animals generally ignored these insights since everyone was quite familiar with Hedgehog’s spiky coat.
By the time that old Raven began his story, almost all the forest inhabitants had gathered on the meadow, only Wolf was missing – he valued his solitude greatly, and was proud of it. So it was decided that the story be listened to in his absence. Many small animals heaved a sigh of relief: although at least for the duration of the annual “tale week” a general truce had been declared between all forest dwellers, one still felt much more confident not sitting beside one’s eternal enemy. But what is that “tale week” anyway, you may ask? Quite simply, the Forest is not your everyday forest where you no doubt have been. In our Forest, animals, plants, and even water springs are liable to strike up a conversation with you if you happen to be passing by. And if at this point you don’t drop your sandwich that Mother lovingly prepared for you, then you must be as sanguine as a bear. The Forest has neither end nor limit, and it has been there since time immemorial. And the custom to spend a whole week telling tales or true stories is as ancient as the oldest trees in the Forest – and they are surely older than our Raven. Usually it works like this: animals come to the meadow and choose a storyteller for each day of the week. And then they listen and listen…
‘I’ve been thinking for a long time about what I can treat you to today, what marvelous stories to tell you to show my gratitude for choosing me as a storyteller, and not just any storyteller, but one for the first day of the week. Ahem,’ Raven cleared his throat and ran a penetrating gaze across his audience gathered on the meadow. ‘I’ll tell you the story of a boy – some of you may have heard of him from your Grannies and Grandpas, but I happened to know him personally both when he was just a small child and when he was a youth in his prime. They say he is living in a country far, far away; and that he enjoys such happiness that is very rarely granted to people. I don’t know if it is true but I like to think that he is better off there than here. His name is Yari, the son of a forest warden.
YARI AND THE PRECIOUS LOOKING GLASS.
- Off we go!
Yari had no memory of his mother and the way he thought of her was mostly based on what he had heard from his father. In his mind, Yari saw her as a beautiful, soft, kind and caring woman, as all children do whose fate separated them from their nearest and dearest at too early an age. Over long autumn evenings, when showers drummed on the tiny windows of their two-roomed cabin, and old spruces and thick pines squeaked heavily bending under the gusts of the northern wind, father and son sat by the oven. The older man imparted all manner of forestry wisdom to the youngster: how to craft traps, small and large; how to find your way when the sun was out of sight, and a lot of other things, both useful and not so useful, if not outright bad, in the view of the other forest dwellers — the animals and birds. On such evenings, the oven felt particularly warm to the boy; the baked potatoes grown in the tiny plot of land claimed from the Forest were especially tasty, and the conversations with his father were decidedly interesting. They would stay up late to clean their hunting gear, mend their clothes and talk. Yari could not recall a single evening that had ever been boring. His father was in the fifth decade of his life – not a lot by a human measure – but he seemed quite aged to Yari. Children often tend to see their parents as more age-burdened than they are. His father was a sturdy man with kind blue eyes; his rugged skin and deep clearly cut wrinkles had been scored on his face by the sun and the passing years. Yari loved his father.
That morning was warmer, and for the first time in a week the sun had come out – a September sun that wasn’t bright but pleasantly warm. The leaves on the birches, already touched with yellow, seemed to have come back to life stirring under the caressing rays of the sun. The cloudless sky was a pristine blue.
‘We’ll walk farther out than usual today,’ the father said, as he put on his boots and straightened the protective amulet hanging from his neck. This piece of amber, mounted in silver, had been given to him as a gift by Nigreda, a hermit living in a cave a few miles away from the forester’s house. Yari couldn’t remember a single time when his father had gone into the Forest without this charm. Evil tongues called Nigreda a witch, — well, all times have their gossips! But no one was better at putting a bandage on the broken leg of a deer cub, or set the dislocated wing of a reckless nestling that had dropped out of the nest. Yes, she helped mostly beasts and birds since people rarely came to her with their maladies. People were generally wary of coming to the Forest – it loomed too big for them, with a lot of strange things going on in it that could not be explained with simple human logic. So don’t be surprised that Yari’s father was in no hurry to introduce his son to the wonders of the Forest. But that summer Yari turned twelve, and at that age a forest dweller was no longer a child. So his father decided that it was time to start teaching the boy things that were more complicated than weaving bird traps or skiing. ‘Today, we won’t walk toward the edge of the Forest, but go deeper to the North – but not too far this time.’
Following his father’s lead, Yari readied himself for the trip. His soft hunter’s boots were snug on his feet. The boy put a wide belt tight around his long green linen shirt, fastening it on the last hole so that he didn’t feel hungry – before setting off, they only had tea and dried bread to make walking easier. At last they were out of the yard, having propped the door with a board – enough to keep a beast out, and anyway who would expect a visit from a human here in the backwoods?
At first, the barely discernible trail twisted through an oak grove between warty shrubs of spindle, with their orange-red leaves and spotty pods decorated with black, pink, and orange patches. After a while, mighty oaks started to give way to tall furry spruces. On the right, they glimpsed a spurge – its glistening red berries, as if glued to the branches, looked mouth-watering among its bright green leaves, but Yari knew that those berries were not only inedible but quite poisonous. It took a grey rabbit just one hop over the trail to get behind the trees and out of sight. The travelers had been walking for about two hours, or perhaps a little longer. Now the wide-branched spruces were displaced around the trail by slender pines stretching their branches to the sky. The long confident strides of the forester turned surprisingly noiseless now. Turning back to Yari, who was trailing him trying hard not to lag too far behind, he warned, ‘Now try to be quiet, don’t make too much noise. I am not the master here and we should behave as good guests.’ ‘Who is the master here, then?’ asked Yari trying to walk in step with his father and make as little noise as he could, at which he succeeded thanks to the soft leather soles of his boots.
‘There’s no master here, son; this is no man’s land. Strange things happen here.’