Flamy the Dragonet
Translated from Russian by Jane H. Buckingham
Translation edited by Shona Brandt
Illustrations by Viktoria Timofeeva
Flamy the Dragonet
The Bunnies’ Birthday
Late in the evening, when Masha was already asleep, the plush bunnies Sineus and Truvor were celebrating their first birthday in a box under her bed. The bunnies were twins, and if it were not for a spot of watercolour on Sineus’ ear and black threads sewn on Truvor’s tail, it would not be possible to tell them apart.
The cat Muffin, the doll Olga, and the red-haired baby boy doll Pookar were the bunnies’ guests.
Olga was not a slender Barbie, but a respectable Russian doll with strong arms and legs and big blue eyes. When she was turned upside down, she got scared and cried, “Ma-ma!” There is nothing surprising about that. If you, dear reader, were turned upside down, you would also begin to call for mama or even a policeman. Olga did everything in the world correctly. She would always say “thank you” and “please” and only occasionally mixed them up. “Thank give me candy!” or “Please you for lunch!” came out of Olga then.
The bunnies’ other guest, the red-haired baby boy doll Pookar, belonged to the type that always walks around with undone laces, scraped knees, and a black eye. His red hair was tousled, his turned-up nose looked at the world with two cheerful holes, and freckles were scattered across his cheek.
Pookar was dressed in a denim jacket with a lot of pockets: two at the bottom, two on top, and one at the back. Masha, the seven-year-old girl in whose room the toys lived, made him the jacket. It had many pockets, but there is only one Pookar and he could never remember where he put things.
The bunnies Sineus and Truvor were fidgeting on their stools. “When will Birthday come? Why hasn’t he?”
“He’s probably delayed in school,” Pookar decided.
“What is school?” The bunnies were curious.
“Well… er… how to tell you, doll? School is a place where there are many girls, and they pounce on you and squeeze you all the time. I went there with Masha,” Pookar bragged.
The cat Muffin shivered. “Brr! They squeeze! I can’t stand it. They smudge your fur and then you have to lick it clean!”
“But I liked it! Squeezes are nicer than baths. Besides, baths are simply a waste of the gift of time because you get dirty later all the same,” Pookar stated.
“Phew, what a slob you are!” The doll Olga wrinkled her nose.
Pookar was offended. “You’re a slob! Now I’ll hit you on the forehead!” he said.
“Not nice to hit girls!” the cat Muffin reminded him.
“So it’s not nice!” Pookar agreed. “But fun!”
Olga threatened Pookar with an impressive fist. “Just let him try! I’m a big doll, but he’s a mere undersized baby doll, almost a tumbler!”
The quarrel could easily have turned into a fight, but then the bunnies intervened. “Aren’t you ashamed? Today’s our birthday!” they said and, looking at each other, sulked again. Sineus and Truvor did everything synchronously.
Pookar and Olga turned red and made peace for some time. In fact, they were good friends, and that they squabbled – so who does not squabble? Just that Pookar’s character was mean, and Olga, I must say, was no sweetheart either.
“You promised that Birthday will come to us today… But he’s still not here! Turns out you tricked us!” the bunnies said and began to sniffle a bit.
If you look at it, they had a good reason for this. And it is true what nonsense had occurred: the guests argued and almost came to blows, the table was not set, and Birthday was still not there. The only thing left to do was cry.
Pookar simple-mindedly decided to console them. “Follow the example quietly, rabbit hats! Feet together, ears apart! And all smile promptly! Whoever cries, retrains at the pet shop to become a porpoise!” he said.
Sineus and Truvor, always taking everything literally, started to tremble just in case, and were ready to hide under their stools.
“Stop it, Pookar! And you get out, come on! Birthday comes when everybody sits down at the table and begins to drink tea. It’s always so,” the cat Muffin calmed the bunnies.
Sineus and Truvor quieted down and obediently wiped each other’s wet nose. The doll Olga put the kettle on and pulled out candies. The bunnies attacked the chocolate at once and smudged themselves all the way up to their ears.
Pookar looked at the candy with squeamish thoughtfulness. He had tucked away a whole jar of jam even before dinner. “I don’t want any!” he stated.
“Nobody’s offering them to you,” Olga remarked casually.
“Is that so, doll? Then I’ll take it just to spite you!” Pookar said and started to stuff candies into his pockets.
In the meantime, the kettle was boiling.
“Tea’s ready. Who will pour it?” Olga asked.
The bunnies roused themselves happily. They were filled with responsibility.
“We will! We will!” they shouted and toppled the kettle onto Olga’s knees. Fortunately, dolls are less afraid of boiling water than people.
“We poured tea! Just as you asked!” Sineus and Truvor boasted.
Olga looked with horror at the wet hem of her dress. “You don’t pour it there, fool…eh-eh…little fools!”
“Oh! We have no tea! Birthday won’t come now. Sorry, Olga! We’re so unhappy!” The bunnies started to cry.
The cat Muffin slapped their paws encouragingly. “Nonsense! We can boil more water. Pookar and I will get water from the aquarium!”
The aquarium, which the cat loved to contemplate thoughtfully, stood on Masha’s desk. Here Pookar could not restrain himself and proposed to boil the entire aquarium instead of getting the water with the kettle.
“The fishes! What will happen to them?” Olga asked fearfully.
Pookar shrugged. “Nothing will happen to them. Muffin will eat the fishes. Well-made tea with fish is her favourite dish.”
Muffin pondered seriously. “It wouldn’t be bad, of course, but Masha would be upset. She likes the fishes. Besides, if I were to eat them now, then my hope of eating them later will disappear,” she said uncertainly.
“Well, best enemy of the dog, you convinced me! We won’t boil the aquarium. Just take a little bit of water. The fishes won’t be worse off. Let’s go, cat!” Pookar agreed easily, heading to the table.
His compliance alarmed Olga. “No! I’ll go with you. Otherwise, you’ll play some mean trick without me!” she said with suspicion.
“Eh, no! We’ll manage somehow! Roaming at night isn’t something for a girl. Besides, you have big feet and you stomp. And watch you don’t eat all the candy; I know you, send us off as you have your eyes on them,” said Pookar.
Olga flared up and pounced on him. “Oh, you bad baby doll! Some day you’ll bug me and I’ll rip all your ears off! Then let Masha sew them back on!”
Pookar spat sullenly. “With threads?” he said.
According to the 12th century Primary Chronicle, the history of Kievan Rus' from c. 850 to 1110, Sineus and Truvor were brothers of Rurik, the founder of the Rurik Dynasty that ruled Kievan Rus' until the 17th century.