THE BAD WIFE

8x10

collage illustrated fairytale, 2020

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"THE BAD WIFE"


A Russian Fairy Tale


"

There was once a bad wife who made life impossible for her husband and disobeyed him in everything.

If he told her to rise early, she slept for three days; if he told her to sleep, she did not sleep at all.

If her husband asked her to make pancakes, she said, "You don't deserve pancakes, you

scoundrel!" If her husband said, "Don't make pancakes, wife, since I don't deserve them,"

she made an enormous panful, two whole gal­lons of pancakes, and said, "Now eat, scoundrel, and be sure that all of them are eaten!"

If he said, "Wife, do not wash the clothes nor go out to cut hay- it is too much for you," she

answered, "No, you scoundrel, I will go and you shall come with me."

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One day, after a quarrel with her, he went in distress to the woods to pick berries, found a currant bush, and saw a bottomless pit in the middle of it. As he looked at it, he thought to himself, “Why do I go on living with a bad wife and struggling with her? Could I not put her in that pit and teach her a lesson?”

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He went back home and said, "Wife, do not go to the woods for berries."

"I shall go, you fool!"

"I found a currant bush, don't pick it!"

"I shall go and pick it clean-and what is more, I won't give you any currants!"

The husband went out and his wife followed him. He came to the currant bush and his wife jumped toward it and yelled, "Don't go into that bush, you scoundrel, or I'll kill you!"

She herself went into the middle of it, and fell plop! - into the bottomless pit.

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The husband went home happily and lived there in peace for three days. On the fourth day, he went to see how his wife was getting along.

Be took a long towrope, let it down into the pit, and dragged out a little imp.

He was frightened and was about to drop him back into the pit, when the imp began to shriek and then said imploringly, "Peasant, do not put me back, let me out into the world. A bad wife has come into our pit-she torments, bites, and pinches all of us, we are sick to death of her.

If you let me out, I will do you a good turn!"

So the peasant let him go free in holy Russia. The imp said, “Well, peasant, let us go to the Vologda. I will make people sick and you shall cure them.”

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Now the imp set to work on merchants' wives and daughters; he would enter into them and they would go mad and fall ill. Our peasant would go to the house of the sick woman; the imp would leave, a blessing would come on the house; everyone thought that the peasant was a doctor, gave him money, and fed him pies. The peasant thus amassed an uncountable sum of money.

Then the imp said to him, "You now have plenty, peasant. Are you satisfied? Next I shall enter a boyar's daughter, and mind you do not come to cure her, else I shall eat you."

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The boyar sent for the peasant, the famous "doctor." He came to the boyar's beautiful house and told him to have all the townspeople and all the carriages and coachmen gather in the street m front of the house; he gave orders that all the coachmen should crack their whips and cry aloud, "The bad wife has come, the bad wife has come!" Then he went into the sick maiden's room. When he came in, the imp was enraged at him and said, "Why have you come here, Russian man? Now I will eat you!"

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He said, "What do you mean? I have not come to drive you out, but to warn you that the bad wife is here!"

The imp jumped on the windowsill, stared fixedly, and listened intently. He heard all the crowd in the street cry in one voice, "The bad wife has come!"

"Peasant," said the imp, "where shall I hide?" "Return to the pit. She won't go there again!"

The imp went there and joined the bad wife. The boyar rewarded the peasant by giving him half his possessions and his daughter in marriage; but the bad wife to this day sits in the pit in nether darkness.

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“Peasant,” said the imp, “where shall I hide?”

“Return to the pit. She won’t go there again!”

The imp went there and joined the bad wife. The boyar rewarded the peasant by giving him half his possessions and his daughter in marriage, but the bad wife to this day sits in the pit in mether darkness."

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