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      /  Literature   /  Sack of Apples

    Sack of Apples

    Author: Vladimir Suteev

    Translation: Anya Ezhevskaya

    One day Rabbit went to the forest, sack in hand, looking for mushrooms and berries to bring back to his little rabbits. But he was out of luck. He didn’t find any mushrooms, he didn’t find any berries.

    Just then, he saw a wild apple tree in the middle of a clearing. And oh how many apples there were on that tree! Wasting no time, Rabbit opened his sack and started picking apples.

    Just then Crow flew by, perched on a stump and began cawing, “Caw, caw! This is unheard of! What if everyone who comes by takes an apple – there won’t be any left!”

    “Stop cawing,” said Rabbit, “There are enough apples here for the entire forest. And I have my hungry little rabbits at home to feed…”

    Rabbit filled the sack to the brim. The sack was heavy – hard to lift. And so Rabbit began dragging it down the forest path.

    Suddenly, his head bumped into something soft. Rabbit raised his head and nearly fainted: he had backed right into Bear!

    Rabbit took a deep breath, opened the sack and said, “Just some…apples. Please…help yourself, Mr.Bear.”

    Bear tasted an apple and said, “Not bad – quite refreshing!” Then he took a large handful and went on his way.

    And Rabbit went on his.

    As he was walking through the forest, little squirrels ran up to him from every direction, squealing in unison: “Mr. Rabbit, Mr.Rabbit! Give us some apples!”

    Of course, he couldn’t say no, and so out of the bag went the apples.

    Then, later on his way home, Rabbit ran into his old friend, Mr. Hedgehog.

    “Where are you off to, Spike Head?” Rabbit asked.

    “Well I set off to hunt for some mushrooms. But there’s none to be found. See how empty my basket is?”

    “Why don’t you take some of my apples instead? Here – take some, don’t be shy. I have a lot, see?” said Rabbit, and poured Hedgehog a full basket of apples.

    When he came out to a clearing in the forest, Rabbit saw Mrs.Goat walking with her young. And he gave them some apples too.

    The Rabbit walked for a long time, and grew tired. He was just about to sit on a little bump, when the bumpl moved, and Mr. Mole scurried inside. “Thank you, my friend!” he shouted as he disappeared into the ground with his bunch of apples.

    Meanwhile at home, everyone had been waiting for Rabbit for a long time. To make the time pass quicker, Mamma Rabbit told the little ones stories while they waited.

    And suddenly, someone knocked on the door.

    The door swung wide open, and a few little squirrels appeared, with a basket full of nuts.

    “Here! Mamma asked us to bring you these!” the squirrels squeaked and ran off.

    “Amazing…” Mamma Rabbit whispered.

    Then came Mr.Hedgehog with a large basket full of mushroom.

    “Is the man of the house in?” he asked.

    “Sadly no. He left in the morning, and hasn’t been back since.” Mr.Hedgehog said his goodbye’s, took leave of the family but left the basket with Mamma Rabbit.

    Their neighbor Mrs. Goat brought some heads of cabbage and a bowl of milk.

    “For your young ‘uns” she said. The surprises kept coming…

    The basement door popped open with a bang, and Mr.Mole appeared from beneath the ground. “Is this Rabbit’s home?” he asked.

    “Yes, we do live here” replied Mamma Rabbit.

    “Good. Then I planned my digging well!” exclaimed Mr.Mole, and sent up a shoot of vegetables: carrots, potatoes, parsley, beets. “Send my best to Rabbit!” he shouted and disappeared down the mole hole.

    And the Crow continued to caw, “Caw, caw! You treated everyone to some of your apples, but what about me? You didn’t give me a single one!

    The Rabbit apologized and pulled out the very last apple, “Here! Saved the best for last! Enjoy!”

    “What do I need your apple for? I can’t stand apples! But look at you – what an outrage! All you have is an empty sack left for your hungry little ones!”

    “Well I… I’ll just go back to the forest and fill the sack up again!”

    “Of course you will, with that storm a’brewing!”

    Rabbit rushed off back into the forest.

    But when he got to his special apple tree, there…was Mr.Wolf! Wolf saw Rabbit, licked his lips and asked, “What are you looking for here?”

    “I….I wanted to pick some appppples…for my little ones…”

    “So you love apples, do you?”


    “Well I love rabbits!” the wolf growled, and lurched at the Rabbit.

    Here the empty bag came just in handy.

    It was late at night when Rabbit finally made it back home.

    At home, all of the little rabbits with their little full bellies were fast asleep. Only Mrs.Rabbit was up, weeping quietly in the corner.

    Suddenly the door creaked open. All of the rabbits jumped out of bed, “Papa’s back! Hooray!”

    Mrs.Rabbit ran to the door, and there on the doorsteps stood Rabbit, all drenched from the rain.

    “I didn’t….I didn’t bring you anything at all” he whispered.

    “My poor Rabbit!” Mrs. Rabbit exclaimed.

    And just then, a terrible tremor shook the whole house.

    “It’s him! It’s the Wolf! Lock the doors! Hide, everyone!” Rabbit shouted.

    The glass began to ring, the window flew open and Bear’s big head peered into the room. “Here is a present from me” Bear roared, “Fresh maple syrup…”

    In the morning the whole Rabbit family gathered around the table, full to the overflowing with mushrooms and nuts, beets and cabbage, syrup and turnips, carrots and potatoes.

    But the mean Crow still did not understand, “How is it possible that such an abundance could come out of an empty sack?!”