Sister Alyonushka and Brother Ivanushka


Once upon a time in a small Russian village there were an old man and a woman, who had two beautiful children, daughter Alyonushka and a young son named Ivanushka. The elder couple soon died, and Alyonushka and Ivanushka were left to live on their own. Alyonushka had to go to work that was a few miles away and Ivanushka went along since he was too young to stay home by himself. One day when while they were walking back home as usual, Ivanushka told his sister, "Alyonushka, I am very thirsty." “Please wait until we come to a well,” answered Alyonushka. But the afternoon sun was bright and they still had a long way to go, so the young boy started asking his sister, “Alyonushka, I am very thirsty, let me please take just one sip from this cattle trough.” “Please do not drink from there, otherwise you turn into a baby cow calf. Wait a bit, a well is not that far from here,” warned him the elder sister and Ivanushka obeyed her. But their journey was far from its finish and a well was still beyond their reach, so young boy plead to his sister again, “Alyonushka, I cannot walk anymore, I need at least a drop of water. Please let me drink from this horse trough.” “Please do not drink from there, my dear brother, otherwise you turn into a baby foal.” Ivanushka had to obey his sister again.

They kept walking until Ivanushka spotted the goat trough full of water on a side of the road. Then Ivanushka cried to his sister, “Alyonushka, please let me drink from this trough, I am exhausted and very thirsty!” “Please do not do it, my dear brother,” answered Alyonushka. “The moment you drink it, you will turn into a kid. Wait a bit longer, I can now see the well.” But Ivanushka did not listen to his sister’s warning and drank out of the goat's trough anyway. Just as Alyonushka said, young Ivan turned into a white baby goat the moment he finished his drink. When Alyonushka realized that her younger brother was not around she started calling on him, but a white baby goat responded to her. As soon as the girl saw the young goat she understood what happened to her brother and burst in tears. She sat on the ground near stack of hay while the little white goat was happily leaping in play around it. Just then a merchant happened to ride nearby."What are you crying for, the beautiful one?" asked her the merchant. Alyonushka shared her sad story with the young man. While Alyonushka was telling him her story, the merchant fell in love with her and proposed on the spot."Marry me, my dear princess. I will dress you in gold and silver, and the kid will live with us." Alyonushka also fell in love with this kind and handsome man and agreed to marry him.

Both Alyonushka and her young brother moved to the merchant’s house and lived in harmony and piece. One day Alyonushka’s husband was not home that is when an old and ugly Witch sneaked into the house and while Alyonushka was asleep, kidnapped the little goat Ivanushka in order to cook him for dinner. When the girl realized that her brother was gone, she started calling and searching for him everywhere. Not managing to find Ivan, the maiden sat near small lake to cry. The old wicked witch was watching her behind the bushes. Suddenly, she attacked Alyonushka from behind, tied a huge rock round her neck and threw her into the depth of the little lake, then she turned into an exact copy of Alyonushka and head back to her house. In a meanwhile, the young goat Ivanushka managed to escape from the Baba Yaga’s captivity and was following her all the way. Ivanushka alone knew that the girl that looks exactly like his sister is not real Alyonushka, but the wicked Baba Yaga. When the merchant came home, he had no idea about what happened to his wife. Ivanushka was the only one who knew that the girl that looks exactly like his sister is not real Alyonushka, but the wicked Baba Yaga. Every evening he used to run to the lake to call for his sister, “Alyonushka, my dear sister, please swim out to me.”As soon as Baba Yaga found out about this, she asked the merchant to kill the kid. But the kind young man refused to do that since he became friends with Ivanushka. The old Witch insisted and kept pushing the man more aggressively.

Finally, the merchant responded to her, "If you want him dead so much, you kill him yourself.” The Witch was overwhelmed with joy of getting the merchant’s permission. She started preparing big fire, got the biggest pot heated and sharpened the biggest knife. The little goat found out what is about to happen and secretly ran to the lake one more time. Ivanushka was running back and forth on the lake shore and cried, “Alyonushka, my dear sister! Swim out to me now, the Witch is burning her fires high, heating her pots up and sharpening her knives, she wants me to die.” And Alyonushka responded from the bottom of the lake, “Ivanushka, my dear brother! The heavy stone doesn’t let me swim, it presses hard my chest that I can bearly breathe.” In a meanwhile, the old Witch ordered the merchant’s servant to look for the little goat and bring it to her. The servant spotted Ivanushka on the shore who was crying by talking to the lake, and a human voice would answer to him.

The servant rushed back home and told his master what he had heard and seen. This time the Merchant went to the lake himself in order to find out what happened. He bravely went down into the deep waters and brought Alyonushka to the surface. He untied the rock that was placed around her neck and Alyonushka opened her eyes. Ivanushka was overjoyed and happy. All three of them returned home. The merchant ordered to execute the wicked old Witch the same day and the moment she was gone a little goat turned back into the young boy Ivanushka. The three of them lived happily in harmony.

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