Sweet trap

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In a distant fairyland, among the boundless black marshes, there are three hills, covered from top to bottom with white birches. On these three hills lies the White City, and cheerful and kind people live in it. They work, extracting honey, weaving canvases and brewing iron. And the wise princess Olga rules the city.

The inhabitants of the White City love their ruler for her statesmanship, kindness, cheerful disposition, and they also love Olga’s daughter Polina, and they call her our princess. It used to be that Polina was sitting at the window of the palace, sorting through berries for jam, reading or embroidering a napkin, and good people were walking past the windows, saying hello. Hello Polenka. Hello, our worker and beauty. Hello, our worker and beauty. And Polina answers them: «Good morning to you, happy day.» People go on about their business and talk about the princess among themselves. And her voice is silver. And a heart of gold.

In the White City it is white from birch trees, light from cheerful eyes and kind smiles. And around the city there is a strong stone wall, the gates of which open only during the day. Why? Yes, because the White City has enemies.

In the black swamps that lie around the white hills live evil swamp dwarfs — gnomes. They hate the White City with a fierce hatred. And most of all the swamp lord Okhlomyst. And now he is sitting at the very top in his Black Iron Tower, looking through a telescope and gritting his teeth in anger — they are having fun. They smile. Well, the city. Whatever rain is a rainbow, whatever day is joy. Someone built a new house — they have a holiday, someone sewed a new dress again fun. Look disgusting.

Next to the swamp lord, his two sons, twins Bikenya and Kikenya, are toiling from idleness, pestering with questions. — What is a holiday, daddy? -Yes, what is it? Okhlomyst put down his spyglass, clicked his forehead, concentrating. A holiday is when everyone has fun. Dress up and walk around the city square. Ugh, what a mess. Kikenya took a telescope and watched the happy people. Or maybe it’s good? Bikenya, who had not succeeded in looking through his father’s spyglass, became angry.

It’s bad for others to rejoice, Kikenya. Only we are supposed to walk and sing — me, you, and our dad, the great swamp prince Okhlomyst. You are smart, Bikenya, — Okhlomyst praised him. Then the son decided that since dad was in a good mood, it was time to beg for something. And let me, papa, look through a telescope to see what people are doing there, in the White City. Kikena wanted his brother to continue to envy him and hid the telescope behind his back. Why are you looking at this mess? Better go to the stable, punish someone, have fun. Punish yourself, but I’m tired! I’d rather look at the White City. No, me! Okhlomyst grimaced at the scream. Quiet, quiet. The White City is like an eyesore to me. If I don’t destroy this city, don’t be Okhlomyst. The brothers were distracted from the quarrel, looked at each other. -And right.

Destroy him! Destroy, burn! From joyful excitement, Okhlomyst spread his skinny arms to the sides. And the inhabitants of all, every one, to be my slaves. The brothers listened to dad with their mouths open, drooling from greed on their chins, and each told his dream.

And the White Hills will obey the Black Swamp. Haha! And there will be little people from morning to evening without joy to work for our enrichment. Haha! Here Bikenya wiped his saliva and asked seriously. Oh-oh-oh. Wait, wait, papa. But how can the White City be destroyed if there is no way to approach it? There is an impregnable wall around the city, and all the moves and exits of the vigilant guard guards? Kikenya got scared and stopped laughing.

That’s for sure. They recognize us and never miss us. Okhlomyst narrowed his eyes cunningly. They will miss. Moreover, the gates will be opened and how dear guests will be invited. The brothers were surprised. Yes, how is it? Oh, you are someone’s dad, did you think of such a pleasantly disgusting thing? The swamp lord Okhlomyst hooted like an owl. He was laughing so hard. I thought a long time ago, but only the time did not come then, but now it is just right.

Many years ago my grandmother, the swamp witch, told me about Datura grass. It grows on high hummocks of a rotten swamp and has terrible power. How so, grass, but has power? Wonderful. Don’t interfere, Kikenya! So, its leaves emit an insidious spirit. A spirit that intoxicates both the beast, and the bird, and the beetle, and the spider. And whoever tastes these leaves will face a slow, slow, but terrible death. Wow! Both brothers said — This is our way, according to the swamp!

And Okhlomyst continued to speak, dreamily looking at the rusty wall opposite. Anyone who tries dope grass will not get used to it on his own, and will not break out of captivity without someone else’s help. This very dope grass will open the gates of the White City before us. Okhlomyst ordered his faithful dwarfs to find dope-grass in a rotten swamp, on high hummocks. Pick its leaves, dry and grind into powder. And from the powder and honey of wild bees to make sweets-peas: red, yellow, blue, green, that is, funny poisonous candies. The dwarves did as the lord commanded them. They put some sweets on and put them on the rusty table in the kitchen to dry.

Ohlomyst, trusting no one, he himself was shifting sweets from the kitchen table into a beautiful box, and then Kiken and Biken entered the kitchen. Their eyes lit up with greed, their hands reached for the sweets themselves. Oh what colorful ones! And fragrant, what! Give daddy! Give now! Okhlomyst stamped his feet and yelled at his brothers. Hush! Do not dare! Not prepared for you. Both hands off! These are special sweets for fools. For fools? For fools Treat a boy or girl once, then another, and the third time they will come to you. They will wallow at their feet for the sake of sweet peas. Everything in the world will be done for you, just to try these sweets again.

Are they really that delicious? Okhlomyst poured the last candies into the box and washed his hands thoroughly. — And delicious, and with a secret. Tricky candies. With their help we will conquer the White City. Kikenya, as always, believed his father from the first word: «Oh, we will conquer the White City, oh, we will torment them!» And Bikenya doubted. I won’t take anything for granted. How can a whole city be conquered not by military force, but by tiny sweets? Okhlomyst came out of the huge dark kitchen, went along the narrow corridors of the tower, rattling with iron boots, and the brothers minced after him, listening to every word, and pushed each other with their elbows in order to be closer to their father.

You, Kikenya and Bikenya, listen to me. These candies have a powerful force, more terrible than an entire army. In his room, Okhlomyst sat down in an armchair and pointed with a hooked finger out the window, at the walls of the White City. You will need to deliver these sweets along with other sweets to the city and treat the residents. Kikenya rubbed his hands and nodded in agreement. Yes, yes, papa. Bikenya again doubted. -How do we get there? No way will the guards let us in, they will definitely recognize us as swamp inhabitants. Okhlomyst carefully looked at his sons. Uncombed hair, shaggy and splayed ears, dirty clothes, face and hands are even dirtier. In a word, handsome.

You, Kikenya and Bikenya, can enter the White City only under the guise of merchants or travelers. Go, wash yourself, put on clean clothes, put on new shoes. You Kikenya wash your hands twice, cut off your nails. Kikienya immediately ran to the door, so he wanted to get into the White City. But Okhlomyst was angry. Stop, motherfucker! And you, Bikenya, do not interfere with your haircut. Then the second brother ran to the door. Stand! — Okhlomyst already got up from anger. Have patience, you bastards. Cities are not conquered with a swoop!

And the thing I conceived is not simple… Listen! I ordered the cook grandmother Dudilikha to bake beautiful delicious gingerbread cookies. You will carry them to the market square, where on Sundays a lot of people gather. Take along with gingerbread and sweets for fools. Pick some stupid boys and girls and give them a free treat. Kikenya looked into the box. What if they don’t take it? Bikenya slammed the box shut so that Kikeni’s fingers were pinched. How can they not take it? Such beautiful sweets, and they won’t take it? For free?! Kikenya blew on his bruised fingers. Yes, they may not take us, we are strangers to them, unfamiliar. And immediately gave Biken in the eye.

The lord of the surrounding swamps loved when his boys fought, that is, frolicked. Clever, Kikenya. And you swindle sweets with cunning. And to whom you slip them — remember, so that next time you will treat the same fools again. They need to be taught to eat candy. Then Bikenya, turning green with envy that his brother was praised, but he was not, decided to show his cunning mind. Dad, why are we just giving away goodness for nothing, without swamp intent? What if we give sweets not to anyone, but to the princess herself, the daughter of the ruler Olga? BUT? Okhlomyst even stamped his feet in delight. That’s right, Biken! Let’s make fool Polina crave sweets. And then the White City is ours! Well, let’s go. Go! And so Kikenya and Bikenya went along the paths through the swamps to the three hills. They dragged a basket with gingerbread and multi-colored sweets. Okhlomyst watched the brothers from a high rusty tower through a spyglass and grinned evilly, rejoicing at his vile idea.

And in the White City, as always after a working week, on Sunday, people walked in a wide square. And everyone, from young to old, put on beautiful clothes, and prepared gifts for everyone they knew in the city. Cheerful townspeople approached long wooden tables, drank tea from large pot-bellied copper samovars, ate gingerbread and apples from birch bark plates. They also rode carousels, flew kites, ate ice cream, laughed and listened to street musicians and singers. Among the walking people were the ruler Olga and her daughter Polina.

Next to Polenka, as always, was Bogdan, the gardener’s son. Bogdan and Polina have been friends for a long time. Bogdan taught the princess to love and understand plants, and she made sure that the gardener’s son studied well. Now they were both flying a kite. Well, come on, Polina, let’s pull. Flew! Polina laughed heartily, her jewelry jingled, a multi-colored kite flapped its paper wings in the sky. AndWhite City. He’s probably especially handsome from above. To see all-all inhabitants and houses. And then fly even further, look at overseas countries, at different people.

Polenka was a dreamer. She dreamed of seeing distant countries, she dreamed of learning to sing and dance, she dreamed of reading all the interesting books in the world. She dreamed of becoming as beautiful and smart as her mother Olga. I dreamed ... but you never know what a teenage girl dreams of. But now, on a wide square among the walkers, two merchants appeared, like two drops of water similar to each other. You would recognize them at once, although they changed clothes, washed, cut their hair and changed their dirty caps for hats with bells. Of course, they were Kikenya and Bikenya. I must say that at the gates of the White City they had to be pretty worried. The gates themselves were bound with iron, but knocked down from birch trunks. And for the inhabitants of the marsh, birch is a tree that is too clean, it acts on them like washing powder on dirt.

The guard vigilantly examined the brothers from all sides. They wanted to look into his eyes, but Bikenya complained that his eye hurts from the “barley”, and Kikenya began to look for a speck in his eye. In the basket, the guard saw only harmless sweets made in the form of figurines of outlandish animals and sweets in a box. And the brothers were let into the city. The brothers looked around, surveying the city and gradually moved towards where Polina and Bogdan were launching the kite. The cunning Bikenya pulled out his long ears from under his hat with bells, and overheard how Polina shared her cherished dreams with a friend, and remembered it well, but the simpleton Kikenya did not immediately understand that a cheerful girl with a golden braid was the princess. But then a beautiful, richly dressed woman kissed Polenka. Kikenya tugged at his brother's sleeve. -Is that her? Be quiet, she's the best. The person we need. Let's go.

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