Little Silver Hoof


A long time ago in a small Siberian village, there was an old widowed hunter named Kokovanya. His wife died a long time ago and they did not have any children. Kokovanya lived alone and no one to talk to or take care of. The hunter heard though that there was a little orphan girl who lived with a family of one kind peasant. The family that Daryonka lived with had seven children and adopted the poor little orphan girl just out of respect to her deceased parents. The old hunter found this family and asked their permission to adopt Daryonka. The peasant and his wife agreed. So, Daryonka, Kokovanya and Daryonka’s kitten started living together in Kokovanya’s log cabin in a middle of the forst. Kokovanya spent his days hunting in the forest when Daryonka kept their hut clean and warm. At night, when Kokovanya was back from hunting, he used to tell the child the wonderful tales about the forest and its inhabitants, but the girl particularly liked the story about Little Silver Hoof, a magic wild deer that looks like a regular one except that one of its hoofs in the front is silver. Every time the animal stamped its magic silver hoof, the gem stones would appear out of nowhere. If it stamped it twice there would be two stones next second, but if it pawed the ground over and over non-stop that would produce a whole pile of gems.

Kokovanya told Daryonka that he had been trying for many years to see the Little Silver Hoof but was never lucky enough to witness this well known miracle. When the winter came Kokovanya started packing his gear again in order to go deeper into the woods to try again to find the miracle deer. Daryonka begged the old man to let her and the cat go along. Ever since she heard the story about the Little Silver Hoof, it became the girl’s dream being able to see this beautiful animal herself.So the old man, the young girl, and the cat headed deep into the woods. They were not lucky enough to see the Little Silver Hoof that day, but saw many other animals and birds that Daryonka did not expect to see. On the next day when Kokovanya went out hunting as usual and Daryonka with her Cat were left by themselves in the cabin, the girl thought that she heard some animal walking around right near their window. Daryonka opened the door and spotted the Little Silver Hoof standing a few feet away from her. The girl tried to approach the magic animal, but it got scared and ran away.

One more day went by and Daryonka’s cat ran outside to play and never returned back home. The brave little girl was very worried about her cat, so she put a warm coat on her shoulders, took a pair of skies and went to the forest to look for the cat. She spotted it not that far from home. It was playing in the snow with the Little Silver Hoof. Both were nodding their heads forward as if they were talking to each other. The magic deer would run and stamp all around the Kokovanya’s cabin. Then it jumped upon the roof and started stamping non-stop. Precious stones flashed out like multi-colored sparks: red, green, blue, black, pink and many other colors. Kokovanya returned back home right on time to witness this extraordinary miracle. By the time he saw the Little Silver Hoo, his hut was covered with countless gems and sparkled in the moonlight. Suddenly, both the magical Silver deer and the cat had disappeared from the roof. The old man and Daryonka gathered a few handfuls of the precious stones and went inside the hut Next morning they went outside and noticed that the rest of gems left in there for the night were gone. All they had left were the ones that the old man and Daryonka managed to put in their packets last night. No one ever saw or heard of Little Silver Hoof or the cat again.

It’s been a long time since that happened. However, there is a legend that the people who walk around the area where Kokovanya’s hut used to be, manage to find the precious gems in the modern days.

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