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The Turnip

Russian folk tale

An old man planted a turnip. The turnip grew to be enormous. The old man started to pull the turnip out of the ground. He pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So he called the old woman over.

The old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the old woman called the granddaughter over.

The granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the granddaughter called the dog over.

The dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the dog called the cat over.

The cat took hold of the dog, the dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled, but couldn't pull it out. So the cat called the mouse over.

The mouse took hold of the cat, the cat took hold of the dog, the dog took hold of the granddaughter, the granddaughter took hold of the old woman, the old woman took hold of the old man, the old man took hold of the turnip, they pulled and pulled--and finally pulled out the turnip!


--In Russian, the name "Zhuckha" is used in place of "dog." Also, the translation loses all the the lyricism of this little tale. In Russian, the similar words repeated patterns combined to make a rhythm that is almost a tongue-twister! Transliterated, the last line of the tale sounds like this:

Myshka za koshku, koshka za Zhuchku, Zhuchka za vnuchku, vnuchka za babku, babka za dedku, dedka za repku, tyanut-potyanut--vytyanuli repku!

 

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