Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Easter Egg

What follows is a rhythmic, chant-like story from Russia which I came across in one of my box-files this week while riffling through them with Easter weekend in mind. It’s been in this blog before on two different occasions but I think it’s worth repeating. I can’t now remember where I found the tale. I do remember telling it – and with lots of accompanying sounds –  in storytelling sessions with children I once did at Somerset House to accompany a fabulous exhibition of Russian art and artefacts that was being held there. The exhibition included some of the gorgeously jewelled eggs made for a number of Russian tsars between 1885 and 1917 by Russian jeweller, Carl Faberge. (Sorry can’t get my computer to do the accent on this name.) Anyway, the egg  in my story is more mundane. But it makes a good tale.

The Easter Egg: a Russian tale

This is a story about a little Russian girl who lived with her father and mother right next to her grandmother’s farm. This little girl would often help her granny by feeding the animals or collecting the new-laid eggs. One day, just before Easter, her mother was making bread in the kitchen while her father, who was the local priest, was in the church preparing his Easter service.

Then this happened.

P1030942In grandmother’s shed
Lived a speckled hen.
On the day of my story, it laid an egg.
The egg rolled down
From shelf to shelf
Until in the end it found itself
In a little keg made of aspen wood
In the dusty corner where the donkey stood.
A mouse ran by too near the keg,
Wiggled his tail, and broke the egg!

At this great catastrophe
The farmyard donkey began to cry,
The fat old pig let out a sigh,
A startled chicken rose to fly;
The gateposts shrieked,
All doors creaked,
The milkchurn leaked;
And the priest’s daughter,
The little girl in my story,
Carrying water
Broke her bucket.

 P1030939All in a dither
She came to her mother
And said:

Mother, mother, have you heard the news?
In grandmother’s yard
Lives a speckled hen.
Today, she laid an egg;
The egg rolled down
From shelf to shelf
Until in the end it found itself
In a little keg made of aspen wood
In the dusty corner where the donkey stood.
A mouse ran by too near the keg,
Wiggled his tail, and broke the egg!

At this great catastrophe
The little donkey began to cry,
The fat old pig let out a sigh,
A startled chicken rose to fly;
The gateposts shrieked,
P1030944All doors creaked,
The milkchurn leaked;
And I, the priest’s daughter,
The little girl in this story,
Carrying water,
Broke my bucket.

When she heard this story,
The wife of the priest
Dropped her yeast
And seeing her dough fall to the floor
She headed straight
Through the churchyard gate
And said:

Husband, husband, have you heard the news?
In grandmother’s shed
Lives a speckled hen.
Today, she laid an egg;
The egg rolled down
From shelf to shelf
P1030926Until in the end it found itself
In a little keg made of aspen wood
In the dusty corner where the donkey stood.
A mouse ran by too near the keg,
Wiggled his tail, and broke the egg!

At this great catastrophe
The little donkey
Began to cry,
The fat old pig let out a sigh,
A startled chicken rose to fly;
The gateposts shrieked,
All doors creaked,
The milkchurn leaked;
And our dear daughter,
The little girl in this story,
Carrying water,
Broke her bucket.P1030951
And I, your wife,
Dropped my dough to the floor!

When he heard all this,
The holy priest with a terrible look
Tore the pages out of his book
And scattered them on the floor.

And do you know what happened then?
The wind came and blew the pages across the farmyard into the river
And the river-waters carried them off
And that’s why I can’t tell you any more of the story.

 The End

PS: Photos are of various of the eggs to be found around our house, no doubt all in need of dusting now that Spring and Easter are here. Happy Easter good wishes to all.

 

 

 

 

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