Once Upon a Ukrainian

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by Tim Burdick on 31 October, 2017

International Reader #3

Sandwiched between Old Europe and Russia, Ukraine has its own version of Pinocchio to tell.
The Golden Key or The Buratino Stories from O. M. Tolstoy.

Carpenter Karlo Djzeppe carves a wooden puppet who starts to speak miraculously. Delighted, he gives it the name- Buratino. Karlo sells his cloak to pay for Buratino’s education and sends him to school.

On the way to school, Buratino sells his books and buys a ticket to the Karabas Barabas Puppet Theater (where only sad stories are played). At the show, the puppets recognize Buratino and greet him. The angry director Karabas wants to throw him in the fire, but Buratino reveals inadvertently about a mysterious chamber at his home. Of course, he doesn’t know what lies behind the door. Karabas gives him money and says that he would pay Karlo’s rent for the location of the mysterious chamber.

During the night, Buratino enters a world of fools where an old turtle gives him keys for Father Karlo’s secret chamber. Buratino must flee Krabas Barabas to get the key. Finally, Buratino discovers the secret behind the mysterious chamber, which is a new puppet theater. There with the laughter of his friends, Buratino gives a good performance to the good people.

As in every good fairy tale, Good triumphs over evil.

Another typical Ukrainian fairy tale was Kolosok.

The story of two lazy mice Kpyt a Beptb who did not want to do anything to help, only play and mess aground. When the rooster finds a spoon and wheat grains, they do not want to use it in the mill to make dough for donuts. Later, the cock prepared all alone a fine roast on the tables, except the mice are not allowed to dine.

This is an example of those who do not work, do not get anything.


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