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Once upon a time there were two swans in the world: Sudarushka and her brother Zakhar. One day, the Elk Chernobrov and his wife came to the family of swans from the Wonderful Green Forest. Yes, there were miracles in this country, where the birds of heaven are friends with the wild beasts. Two families sat at the table with delicious food, they ate and drank and they decided to make each other happy with stories and fairy tales. The Elk Chernobrov was the first to take the floor.

Long ago the inhabitants of the Fiery Country came to the Wonderful Green Forest. They brought with them all the heat of their country, so much so that all the living things in the Wonderful Green Forest began to wither and die. Many animals were left without food and shelter. The Wonderful Green Forest looked like a desert to match with the Fiery Country: Trees, bushes, meadow grass turned into ashes. There was a wasteland all around but only the hot wind of dry air swept over their possessions day and night. The lakes and rivers were dry, the Wonderful Green Forest became a scorched desert.

Forest residents left their homes and fled to the country of Flying Cliffs to the North. The beasts were sad from the misfortunes that befell them. The Elk leader of all animals sought help and guidance from the great sage of the land of the Flying Rocks.

The elk said to the great sage: “Oh, great sage, destroy the guests from the Fiery Country and expel the heat they brought with them from the Wonderful Green Forest.”

The great sage listened to the elk and said: “Go back, help will follow you.” At this the discussion was ended.

To say that the great sage was a wise and strict wizard would be an understatement. He taught others wisdom and the measure of their desires, because he believed that desires must have a measure. If the supplicant wanted his desire to do another badly, then the great sage sent a test. The elk wanted the great sage to destroy guests from the Fiery Country, so he sent the test to the Wonderful Green Forest.

When the elk returned to their country, the fiery guests left the Wonderful Green Forest. Forest animals began to return to their homes. Soon it was raining, it began to get colder, a week later snow fell. Ice and cold dressed the trees and lakes in quaint white robes. It was beautiful and very cold all around.

Forest animals were struck by the pure, sparkling beauty of their Wonderful Green Forest. However, along with the cold came hunger. Their country had become a mansion of snow and ice. The forest animals again howled and asked the elk to go to the great sage with the request to expel the cold from their country.

The great sage listened to the elk’s request a second time, very carefully and said: “Dear elk, invite the inhabitants of the Fiery Country to your country, prepare gifts for them and ask them to bring with them the heat from before, then the cold and ice will melt. Your Wonderful Green Forest will bloom and blossom with vibrant colours.”

The elk executed the orders of the great sage exactly, and soon the trees let out their green foliage, the streams began to run, the flowers blossomed and the berries ripened. Forest animals rejoiced at this change. At the general forest assembly, they decided that the residents of the Fiery Country were staying for six months and when it became unbearably hot, they invited mother-winter with snow, frost and ice.

So in the Wonderful Green Forest the seasons had appeared: the hot summer replaces autumn, then winter comes, followed by spring and again summer. Once a year during the summer equinox, the heat is replaced by the cold and then the cold replaces the heat on the winter equinox, this was the way of the Forest now.

Zakhar and Sudarushka liked the tale that the Elk Chernobrov had told them. They admired the mind of the great sage and his lesson “about the sense of measure”.

Then the elk’s wife took the word and decided to tell the children of the swans a no less instructive and ridiculous story from the Wonderful Green Forest.

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