Learn Russian online: The Speckled Hen Tale

The Speckled Hen Tale

Sit back, listen carefully, and let us tell you a story – and not just any story, but the most famous of Russian children's fairy-tales: Speckled Hen. Maybe it's not the most exciting or the cutest of all tales, but it's definitely one of the most enigmatic – even parents are often at a loss. Let's try to decipher it in today's lesson!

In today's grammar, things keep falling from tables and chairs, thus helping us to learn prepositions which express spatial relations and directions.

Illustration by Tatyana Zlokazova 


Мама: Гла´зки закры´л? Молоде´ц. Сейча´с ма´ма и па´па расска´жут ска´зку.
Mom: Have you shut your eyes? Good boy. Now mommy and daddy are going to tell you a fairy-tale.
Папа: Жи´ли-бы´ли дед да ба´ба. И была´ у них ку´рица.
Dad: Once there lived an old man and his wife. And they had a hen.
Мама: Не ку´рица, а ку´рочка. Ря´ба. И у ку´рочки бы´ло яи´чко. Не просто´е, а золото´е.
Mom: Not a hen – a little hen. Speckled Hen. And this hen had an egg. Not a simple egg, but a golden egg.
Папа: И пото´м они´ на´чали э´то яи´чко бить. Дед бил – не разби´л. Ба´ба би´ла – не разби´ла.
Dad: And then they started to break this egg. The old man tried to break it – and couldn't break it. His wife tried to break it – and couldn't break it.
Мама: В о´бщем, яи´чко так и лежа´ло на столе´.
Mom: So the egg was still lying on the table.
Папа: И тут мы´шка пробежа´ла, хво´стиком махну´ла, яи´чко упа´ло со стола´ на пол и разби´лось.
Dad: And then a little mouse ran by. It waved its tail, the egg fell down from the table on the floor and broke.
Мама: Пла´чет дед, пла´чет ба´ба...
Mom: The old man is crying, his wife is crying…
Папа: Кака´я-то стра´нная ска´зка
Dad: That's some weird tale.
Мама: Ну и ла´дно, гла´вное, что ребё´нок усну´л.
Mom: Who cares, what matters is that the child has fallen asleep.


Daria Pimenova 26.08.2013
Jkeithly, the alternate translations you propose are definitely acceptable. In the Closer Look table however, we were striving to "retain the system," i.e. to find English words with corresponding diminutive suffixes (I gave up when it came to "little tail" though)). I wouldn't mind adding your versions to the table, thanks!
jkeithly 20.08.2013
Maybe change "eyesis" to "peepholes"? Also "eggsie" could be "small egg"? For me "henny" doesn't make it here. This might better be "small hen" or "little hen" instead.

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