Русские народные сказки и сказки таких писателей, как А.С. Пушкин и C.Т. Аксаков, являются неотъемлемой частью нашей культуры. Умение изложить их на английском языке поможет учащимся ознакомить иностранцев с нашей страной, её культурой. Задания к текстам сказок помогают усвоить лексику, развивают навыки чтения.
Every child in this country knows these tales from his or her early childhood. They are buried deeply in our minds, and so many wonderful painters, musicians, craftsmen have been inspired by them!
RUSLAN AND LYUDMILA
By Alexander Pushkin,
originally in poetic form, here adapted.
In days long since past, Prince Vladimir of Kiev held a magnificent feast in honor of the marriage of his daughter Lyudmila and the knight Ruslan. Three jealous suitors looked on (ревнивые ухажёры наблюдали) – Rogday, Farlaf, and Ratmir. The festivities lasted for hours and when they were over, Ruslan led his beautiful young bride to the waiting nuptial bed (брачное ложе). Suddenly a light flashed through the night sky and a clap of thunder shook the ground. A strange mist appeared and from somewhere inside it a strange voice spoke. Ruslan turned to embrace (обнять) his bride, but she had vanished without a trace.
After learning of her disappearance, Prince Vladimir was angry and sick with worry. He immediately annulled the marriage and offered Lyudmila’s hand to anyone who could find her and bring her home.
Without delay, Ruslan, Rogday, Farlaf, and Ratmir mounted their horses to search for the kidnapped maiden. For a while, the four rode together, but eventually they separated.
Rogday said, “I’ll murder the kidnapper. I’ll kill him!” Once he thought he had found the guilty man and pursued (последовал) him as he fled on horseback. In no time at all he chased him down and threw him into a ditch. To his disappointment, he discovered that it was his rival Farlaf whom he had caught. He left the scene without saying a word.
Farlaf, the most cowardly of the four knights, was counting his blessings in the ditch when he was met by a wicked old witch named Naina. She told him to let one of the others rescue (позволить другому спасти) Lyudmila. Then, when they were returning home, Farlaf could snatch (похитить) her from his rival.
Ratmir, meanwhile, was taking a southern route in his search and one evening came across a castle inhabited by beautiful, attentive maidens. He was never heard from again!
Ruslan was making the most progress in the quest (подвиг) to find the beautiful Lyudmila. Early in his search he found a cave where he met an old wizard who said that he had become a wizard to win the love of a beautiful girl he knew when he had been a youth in his native country of Finland. With the aid of magic, he finally won her heart many years later, but by then she was evil, decrepit, and hunchbacked (злобная, немощная и горбатая). In fact, this old woman was none other than the wicked witch Naina. Since that time, the Finn had lived in solitude.
The wizard said that the wicked sorcerer Chernomor was the one who stole Ruslan’s bride, but he gave Ruslan his assurance that everything would work out in the end.
Encouraged by this, Ruslan took to the road again. Soon he ran into his jealous rival (ревнивый соперник) Rogday and was forced into a battle with him. On horseback, the two fought each other tooth-and-nail for some time. Finally, Ruslan managed to throw Rogday off his horse and to his death into the raging (бурлящие) waters of the Dnieper River.
A short while later, Ruslan found a giant’s head in his path! With mad laughter, the head would blow at Ruslan, creating a powerful gust of wind that almost toppled (опрокинул) both Ruslan and his horse. But the mighty knight managed to thrust a spear into the head’s tongue, taking away its powerful breath, and then knocked it on its side with his heavy glove. Ruslan was ready to deliver the final blow with a shining sword he found underneath his foe (неприятель), when the head surrendered (сдалась) completely and promised to be obedient to Ruslan.
It happened that the head knew Lyudmila’s abductor (похититель), Chernomor, very well – he was his brother. The sorcerer had cut off his head in a dispute over the shining sword that Ruslan had just found. The head told the knight that all of Chernomor’s power was contained in his beard. Cut off Chernomor’s beard and his power would be gone as well. Ruslan went on his way again, leaving the head in peace.
Where was Lyudmila all this time? Indeed, she had been abducted (похищена) by the evil Chernomor, who wanted her for himself. He took her to his castle where she could live comfortably. Outside her room, she could walk freely in an enchanted garden amid (посреди) fantastic trees and fairy birds. But she missed Ruslan and could never be happy there.
At one point, Lyudmila repelled (сопротивлялась) Chernomor’s amorous advances (любовные ухаживания) and, in the process, took his hat, which she discovered made her invisible when she wore it backwards. Naturally, she kept wearing the magic hat so that Chernomor didn’t know where she was! But the evil sorcerer was relentless (непреклонный) in his pursuit of the beautiful maiden and changed his form to disguise himself as Ruslan. When Lyudmila saw him, she took off the hat and rushed into his arms. Realizing she had been tricked, she fell to the ground, unconscious.
An instant later, the real Ruslan arrived and the showdown (решающий поединок) began. Chernomor put the hat back on Lyudmila so that she would be invisible and Ruslan could not find her. Then for two days Ruslan and Chernomor battled. Chernomor used the magical powers of his beard to force the fight hundreds of feet in the air. But Ruslan hung on and finally sliced off the sorcerer’s beard with the shining sword. The two descended back to earth since Chernomor had lost all his powers with his beard gone. He was now no match for the mighty Ruslan.
After subduing (покорив) Chernomor, Ruslan frantically (отчаянно) searched the grounds for his young bride. Suddenly, a chance swing of his sword dislodged (случайный взмах меча снял) Lyudmila’s hat, exposing the pretty maiden, who was still unconscious. In his head Ruslan heard the voice of the old Finn wizard who said that Lyudmila would awaken once they were back in Kiev.
On the journey back, they met the giant head, now near death from the wounds suffered in his earlier struggle with Ruslan. After seeing that Ruslan had emerged (оказался) victorious over his brother, the head took one last breath in peace, content that justice had been done.
Leaving the head and drawing closer to Kiev, Ruslan and the others set up camp for the night. While they were sleeping, the cowardly and evil Farlaf, aided by the ugly witch Naina, plunged a sword three times into Ruslan, leaving our hero there to die. If only the old Finn wizard was there to do his magic now...
Farlaf then carried Lyudmila back to Kiev himself and was greeted with much jubilation (ликование) by the people there. Lyudmila, however, remained unconscious. Not only that, the city of Kiev itself was besieged by enemy nomads (кочевники).
But as the battle for Kiev raged on, a powerful warrior was seen in the distance cutting down everyone in his path. It was Ruslan! The wizard had discovered him earlier at death’s door and magically brought him back to life using special “life and death” waters. In no time at all, Ruslan practically single-handedly (единолично) managed to defeat the enemy attackers and save the city.
It was now time for him to see about his lovely, but still unconscious, Lyudmila. Ruslan went to her room and tried to wake her with a magical ring given to him by the wizard. After a few anxious moments, Lyudmila finally opened her eyes, and
Marveled at the long night.
Suddenly she beheld the sight
of her knight. Ruslan she faced
and passionately her hero she embraced.
Ruslan and Lyudmila were together again and lived happily for the rest of their lives.
Activity A. Match the words with their definitions.
Key: bride – a woman who is about to get married or has just got married; mist – thin fog produced by very small drops of water gathering in the air just above an area of ground or water; kidnap – to take people away illegally by force, usually in order to demand money in exchange for releasing them; guilty – having a feeling of anxiety or unhappiness because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person; rival – a person, group, etc. competing with others for the same thing or in the same area; abductor – a person who forces someone to go somewhere, often using threats or violence; chase – to hurry after someone or something in order to catch them; cowardly – behaving in a way that shows you are not brave; knight – a man of high social rank who fought as a soldier on a horse in the past; maiden – a girl or young woman; wizard – a man who is believed to have magical powers and who uses them to harm or help other people; hunchbacked – having a back with a large round lump on it, either because of illness or age; sorcerer – in stories, a man who has magical powers and who uses them to harm other people; obedient – doing, or willing to do, what you have been told to do by someone in authority; enchanted – having a magical effect on someone or something; unconscious – in the state of having lost consciousness, especially as the result of a head injury; mighty – very large, powerful or important; content – pleased with your situation and not hoping for change or improvement; nomad – a member of a group of people who move from one place to another rather than living in one place all of the time; warrior – a soldier, usually one who has both experience and skill in fighting
Activity B. Match the word expressions and their Russian equivalents.
Key: vanish without a trace – исчезнуть без следа; annul the marriage – отменить брак; mount a horse – садиться на лошадь; flee on horseback – убегать верхом на коне; throw into a ditch – бросить в канаву; count one’s blessings – радоваться своей удаче, считать себя счастливым; live in solitude – жить в одиночестве; fight each other tooth-and-nail – сражаться, не жалея сил; create a gust of wind – производить порывы ветра; thrust a spear – бросать копье; rush into arms – броситься в объятья; suffer from the wounds – страдать от ран; plunge a sword – вонзать меч; besiege the city – осаждать город; defeat the enemy attackers – победить вражеских захватчиков
Activity C. Read the text again and choose the correct item.
1. The beautiful young bride disappeared
A. when her three suitors arrived.
B. when a strange mist covered the nuptial bed.
C. when Ruslan was at the feast.
2. After learning of Lyudmila’s disappearance, Prince Vladimir
A. promised her hand to anyone who could find her.
B. asked Ruslan to stay in the palace.
C. mounted his horse to search for his daughter.
3. Old witch Naina told Farlaf
A. to save Lyudmila.
B. to go back to Prince Vladimir.
C. to wait until one of the rivals rescued Lyudmila.
4. In his search Ruslan found
A. beautiful maidens and stayed with them.
B. an old wizard who helped him.
C. a sword lying in the ditch.
5. Rogday met his death
A. in the raging waters of the Dnieper River.
B. in the ditch.
C. when a shining sword hit him.
6. Chernomor and his giant brother had a dispute over
A. a spear.
C. a magic sword.
7. Chernomor’s power was contained
A. in a sword.
B. in his beard.
C. in a magic hat.
8. In the enchanted garden Lyudmila missed
B. fairy birds.
9. Lyudmila became invisible because
A. Chernomor disguised himself as Ruslan.
B. she wore the magic hat backwards.
C. she fell unconscious.
10. The showdown was
B. hundreds of feet in the air.
C. in Finland.
11. The old Finn wizard said that Lyudmila
A. would die in Kiev.
B. wouldn’t be taken to Kiev.
C. would awaken in Kiev.
12. The giant’s head was glad that Chernomor
A. was defeated by Ruslan.
B. suffered from wounds.
C. would live in peace.
13. Naina forced Farlaf
A. to kill Lyudmila.
B. to try to kill Ruslan.
C. to go with the Finn wizard.
14. The city of Kiev was besieged by
B. beautiful maidens.
C. Ruslan and his army.
15. Ruslan woke Lyudmila with
A. a kiss.
B. a magic hat.
C. a magic ring.
Key: 1. B; 2. A; 3. C; 4. B; 5. A; 6. C; 7. B; 8. A; 9. B;
10. B; 11. C; 12. A; 13. B; 14. A; 15. C
Submitted by Irina Ishkhneli,
School No. 1738, Moscow