The Little Sister and Little Brother
Two orphans, little Sister Aliona and little Brother Ivan, were walking across a wide field by a long path, and it was hot and the heat tortured them.
They went and they went and they went. The sun rode high and little Ivan grew thirsty. “Sister Aliona, I want a drink,” he said. “Wait a while, brother, we shall come to a well,” she answered.
The well was a long way off, the heat tortured them, and they reeked with perspiration. As they walked along they saw a pond, and around the pond a herd of cows was feeding.
“I want a drink,” said little Ivan. “Do not drink here, brother! If you do you will turn into a calf,” said Aliona.
He heeded her and they went on. They walked and they walked and they saw a river, and near the river was a drove of horses.
“Oh, sister! If you only knew how thirsty I am!” he cried.
“Do not drink, brother! If you should, you would become a little colt,” she answered.
Little Ivan obeyed her and they went on. They walked and they walked and they saw a lake, and around it was grazing a flock of sheep.
“Oh, sister! I am terribly thirsty!” he said again.
“Do not drink, brother! If you do you will turn into a lamb,” she replied.
Again little Ivan heeded her and they went on. They walked and they walked and they saw a brook, and on its banks swine were rooting.
“Oh, sister!” he pleaded. “I must have a drink. I am terribly thirsty.”
“Do not drink, brother! If you do you will become a pig.”
Again little Ivan heeded what she said and they went on. They walked and they walked, and they saw a herd of goats grazing near some water.
“Oh, sister! I must have a drink!” he said earnestly.
“Do not drink, brother!” she besought. “If you do you will turn into a kid!”
But he could no longer restrain himself, and he disobeyed his sister. He took a drink and instantly was changed into a Kid, running and gambolling in front of his sister and crying, “Baa! baa!”
Aliona suspected that it was her brother. She sat down in the shade of a hayrick and burst into bitter tears, but the Kid ran about on the grass near her. She tied a silken scarf around him and led him along with her, and she wept, bitterly she wept.
The Kid ran and ran and finally ran into the garden of a certain Tsar. The men perceived it and immediately called the Tsar’s attention to it.
“Your majesty,” they said, “a Kid has just run into our garden, and a girl has him by a girdle, and she is such a beauty!”
From The White Duckling and Other Stories,New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1913.