Autumn came quickly. Dense foliage of the mighty trees, yielding to the breath of a cool wind, almost turned yellow and then fall to the ground. The sun was rising with each passing day later and later. It is discouraging old grandmother Helga. She didn’t want to part with warm summers and meet the exhausting cold winter. But time not slow down and not stop nature can only live life and enjoy a new day.
Barely dawn when Helga, stepping on the yellow leaves, went to the forest for medicinal herbs. She often helped cure disease villagers, where she lived with her granddaughter Elsa. The girl’s parents died early, so Helga and replaced her mother and father.
Helga snuck into the thicket taiga and stopped at the three tall fir trees. The branches of spruce trees were so strongly intertwined that made it impossible to get through them.
Helga looked around and whispered:
“Fir branches lift. Let me in the house in the ground. I need advice from the earth, as a disease to be answered.”
Helga bowed firs and froze. Shaggy spruce branches creaked and began to slowly rise. When the trunks of spruce trees were bare, Helga went to one of them. She leaned over and put her hand on the ground near the roots of trees. Helga found the old rusty iron ring and pulled him over. There was a creak, not oiled door hinges, which opened Helga. The old woman began to gently descend into the ground on the stone steps. She went to the hanging on the wall of the old torch and lit it. The narrow dirt tunnel was almost completely illuminated. Helga went on the earthen tunnel and entered a small room. The room on the walls various herbs, roots and bark, as well as dried mushrooms hanging. In the corner stood on the chair of the bank with insects. One of the walls of the room stood a white stone table. On the table were the icons of the saints. On the floor beside the table it was made of marble rectangle that resembles a tomb.
Helga went to the table and pushed a big old icon. For an icon, she took an old book. She flipped through its pages and put into place. Then Helga went to the wall has gathered a bunch of dry grass and went to the door. Before leaving their rooms, she went to marble quadrangle and knelt down. She ran her hand along the cold marble, rose and left the room to the tunnel. Helga in a moment was on the ground near the trunk of spruce. She closed the old wooden door and stepped aside. Again creaked shaggy spruce branches and woven into an impenetrable wall. The sun was already high, and Helga hurried home.
Helga lived with her granddaughter in the village of Polesie. The village is so called because on one side it was surrounded by mountains, and on the other the taiga. Helga and her family were the original inhabitants of the village were not going to leave him. Land and forest gave the old forces Helge. The old woman was slightly stooped, and always wore a blue shawl. Under the shawl could see a lock of black hair. Facial features Helga was a little rough, but when she smiled, from the stern face of the old woman did not remain also a trace.
On the way home, Helga went to visit an old friend Hilde. They had been friends since childhood, and sometimes helped each other on — farm. Hilda was a very friendly lady, but she didn’t like the mess that organized the neighborhood boys Martin, Willie, Hans, and Jacov.
“Again all the grass trampled by my house,” muttered Hilda, when she came to the meeting to Helge.
“Are you grumbling again?” asked Helga the girlfriend and sat on a bench at the fence.
“Burcu,” croaked Hilda. She sat next to Helga and laid his stick on his knees. At Hilda was very ill leg, therefore to dispense with the cane she was extremely difficult.
“I brought you some eggs,” said Hilda, and gave Helge box.
“Thank you girlfriend,” thanked Helga.
“Where are you from going so early?” asked Hilda. She straightened his red handkerchief and looked at Helga beautiful gray eyes.
“A walk in the woods,” said Helga, “gathered medicinal herbs to treat Gleb. His wife came to me and asked for help. She Says Gleb legs not feels. I feel sorry for him. He’s a good man. Never in the help will not refuse.”
“You’re a good friend,” said Hilda, “All willing to help. Just remember that people do not remember the good.”
You should not think so,” replied Helga, “thank you again for the gift. I have to go.”
“Good way,” said Hilda. Leaning on a cane and limping badly, the old woman went to the house.
“Goodbye friend,” said Helga and went home.
Helga and Hilda were living close to each other. Ten minutes later, Helga was standing at the gate of his house. She went into the house. Helga went into the kitchen and sat down at the table. Elsa has not slept. She fed the cows and she cooked breakfast. At Elsa had beautiful thick brown hair and gray eyes. She was eighteen years old, and she gladly helped her grandmother with the housework.
“What are we going to eat?” asked Helga.
“I cook a casserole of mushrooms,” replied Elsa grandmother Helga. She looked in the oven and took a towel to get the pan with the casserole.
“I’ll feed you grandmother,” said Elsa.
“Okay, honey,” said the old woman and began lay out on the table cutlery.
“I went into the forest for medicinal herbs for Hleb. You will carry it to Gleb?” asked Helga.
“Of course, my grandmother,” said Elsa, and put on the table a casserole, “And now we will have breakfast.”
Elsa and Helga had breakfast and do their own thing. Elsa, as promised, went to Gleb and Helga sat in his favorite chair by the stove, and continued to knit socks.
Day, like other autumn days, went almost unnoticed. Elsa in the evening with grandmother watched TV and went to bed. Helga was almost fell asleep, when entered the room Elsa. She wrapped herself in a blanket with his head almost.
“Grandma, I can not sleep,” murmured Elsa.
“Lie down to my bed,” said Helga granddaughter and turned on the lamp.
Elsa lay down next to his grandmother on the feather bed and hid. It was light and cozy in the room. The walls are decorated with children’s drawings Elsa. At the window stood a beautiful wooden chair and old wooden dresser. On the wall beside the bed was a huge beautiful blue carpet.
“Grandma, tell me about anything,” asked Elsa.
“Well, granddaughter, you’re already quite mature, and I can tell you one unusual story. She told me my grandmother, “said Helga, and continued,” there was this unusual story for a long time. In one village, I do not remember his name, had lived a beautiful girl Maria. She was a white magician, and often helped people in trouble. Mary was married to Victor. They lived together, but here’s the problem: for a long time they had no children. Maria is desperate, when one day I saw a strange dream. In the dream, Mary had a girl with curly hair. She pointed the way to the old stone at an abandoned Church and told her to go to him. Maria went. She found a stone at the old Church and, kneeling, asked the Lord to give the baby. The miracle happened. A year later, Mary and Victor’s born daughter, Bertha. The blond girl with curly hair was very inquisitive. Mary and Viktor were happy, but not for long. When the little girl was five years old, died, the husband of Mary. Many tears were shed, but can not do anything. As people say, “This is destiny.”
Maria and daughter were alone. Mary was glad when she looked at the little girl Bertha. The girl became for her only consolation. Bert grew sociable girl. She had a lot of girlfriends and friends. One day she and her friends Elena and Natalia went into the woods to pick berries. Girls running on the grass and decided to play hide and seek. Bert did not like to lose. She decided to hide away in the woods. Berta did not notice how she astray. She called for help, but her girlfriends did not hear. Natalia and Elena looked Bertha until the evening. When it became dark, the girls decided to call on the help of parents and went home.
Maria cried and cried when she learned that Berta got lost in the woods. All the villagers were looking for Bertha till the morning, but never found. Maria came again to the stone at the old Church the whole day and prayed to God for help. When the sun disappeared behind the forest and it was night, Mary went home. At home she met Herman. He led the search for Bertha. When Mary came up to him she turned pale. She saw in his hands bloodied shoes daughter. Maria without words realized that her daughter is no longer alive. Herman expressed sympathy for Mary and left. Maria walked slowly into the house. In an instant she hated girlfriends daughter and wanted revenge.
“Lord, have you forsaken me,” pleaded Mary. She walked around the house and put all the icons in the box.
“I can not live like that,” With these words, Mary sat down and froze.
At night, Maria wandered from the LORD, and took power of black magic. She became a witch and gave soul to the devil in exchange for an opportunity to avenge the death of his daughter. In the morning the village flew terrible news of the death of Bertha friends. Elena and Natalia died during the night. The girls heart stopped. Parents Elena and Natalia Maria cursed. Unfortunately, they did not know how to prove involvement in Maria daughters death.
Elena and Natalia has not yet buried when the morning Maria heard a soft knock on the door. The woman cringed and faintly came to the door. Again there was a knock at the door. This time he was more insistent. Maria opened the door and was stupefied. She could not believe her eyes. Before her stood her baby Berta. Legs baby were severely wounded. Of lacerations was pus. Maria sobbed with happiness. She grabbed her daughter and hugged her.
Again the village rushed the news that the baby Bertha she found her way home. Parents Elena and Natalia from grief were blinded by rage and anger. The desire to avenge the death of beloved daughters did not give them rest. Parents of babies hated Mary and Bert. One night they were locked Mary and Bert in the house and set fire to. When the news about the fire swept through the village, it was too late. From the house have only ashes. Mary and baby Berta were burned alive. Here’s a sad story.”
Helga finished the story and looked at Elsa. The granddaughter had already fallen asleep. Helga patted her granddaughter’s head and went to bed.
The sun had not yet risen when the black Persian cat Barsik climbed onto the bed to Elsa. He crept to the girl’s face and began to purr. The cat tensed in anticipation of affection when Elsa reached. She yawned and rolled over on his stomach. She put her hand under the pillow and went to sleep. Barsik was angry by such impudence. He climbed on the back of the girl and began biting her hair. Elsa broke down and laughed. Barsik in a moment rushed into the kitchen and sat down at his empty bowl.
“Oh, you and mischievous Barsik,” said Elsa, when went into the kitchen. She took the milk out of the refrigerator and poured it into a bowl of cat.
“Eat, my furry alarm clock, and I will go and wake my grandmother,” said Elsa the cat and came out of the kitchen.
The girl went to the old woman and sat down on the edge of the bed.
“I want to sleep,” said Elsa, and crawled under the covers.
The house was cold, so Elsa longer wanted to luxuriate in a warm bed. She has a little tossing and fell asleep. The room was quiet.
“What is it? What is it to me?” murmured Elsa during sleep. She opened her eyes and saw in front of him Helga.
The house has become a warm and smelled like apple pie.
“What do you dream?” Helga asked, “You do not sleep quietly.”
“Grandma, I had a strange dream,” said Elsa, and continued, “I was completely unfamiliar to me a place before the big white house. Around there were two or three houses. The sun was blinding, and it was quite hot. When I went to the old wooden porch and walked to the door suddenly to me opened the door a strange old lady in a black robe and a red scarf. Her gray hair was barely visible from under her shawl. She did not let me log into the house, and handed the old black book. In The book red handle some phrases in a language I did not understand were written. I again tried to enter the house, but the old lady pushed me onto the porch and closed the door. Book remained in my hands.”
“So it’s time,” the old woman sighed with relief, “With me it was the same. You saw in a dream the first in our family healer. She in a dream gives you a sign that it’s time to learn the skill of white magic. I’m happy for you baby. First, you will learn the simplest things, and then I’ll show you a secret place in the woods. There I keep special herbs and something else. I’ll tell you later.”
From that day, Helga began to teach a granddaughter of white magic. Elsa all listened to the grandmother and tried to remember every detail.
Autumn passed and winter came. This year, she was generous. In December, before the New Year the weather was warm and Elsa went outside to sculpt out of snow beautiful dog.
She put on her boots, warm jacket and hat. In the courtyard the snow was not enough, and she decided to sculpt a snow dog behind a fence. The snow was wet and well amenable to modeling. Elsa almost molded the dog, when Helga came up to her and said, “Elsa, go on a visit to Hilda. Christmas Is Coming. Invite her to visit us.”
The girl stood up, shook off the snow, and went to Hilda. When she came to her house, she saw an old woman at the fence. She was always dissatisfied with something.
“Hello Grandma Hilda,” greeted Elsa, “that you happened this time?”
“Hello Elsa. Again, the boys do not haunt me, ‘complained the old lady Hilda,’ Jacov, Willie, Hans and Martin again last night staged a game in my house. They were screaming and I chased them away. It was already the night, when I heard a loud crackling. The crackling was so strong that I had to go outside. What do you think? These urchins made a fire at my fence and sketched in his slate. Very well, my grandson Nikolos came from the city to visit me. He put out the fire.”
“And where is he?” asked Elsa. She knew Nikolos since childhood, but over the past five years, he visited his grandmother only twice.
“He went to talk to the parents boys,” said Hilda, “Let they punish those brats.”
Elsa could not wait to see his old friend, and she decided to go to meet him.
“I must go,” said Elsa Hilda.
“Go on, Elsa,” Hilda nodded and asked, “and why did you come?”
“I quite forgot,” said the girl and rubbed her hand across his forehead, “Grandmother invites you to visit us at Christmas.”
“Thanks for the invitation. I will think over this proposal,” said Hilda through his teeth and leaning on a cane and limping, went to the house.
It was dusk and Elsa hurried to meet with Nicholos. The girl was not left alone curiosity. She wanted to see what became of her friend. He was older than Elsa three years. He’s always been very good to her.
Elsa walked and stopped. Not far from Martin’s house she saw a strange silhouette of a young man. He was surrounded by Jacov Martin, Willie, Hans. They were talking in a raised voice. Little tomboy was eleven years old. The boys were neighbors and had been friends since childhood. Martin was taller than the rest of the friends and considered himself the most intelligent. Willie imitated him. He was the growth of low, but stocky build. Willie and Martin were a kind of generator of ideas, because of which suffered all four boys. Hans was thin and fair-haired. He always kept a neutral party. Small and harmless Jacov was thoughtful boy. Before each act, he always insisted on his point of view and trying to persuade the children to think again.. This face confrontation between Jacov and Martin always resented Hans. In such a situation to keep neutrality it was extremely difficult and had to make a choice.
Elsa began to slowly approach the boys. When she took another couple of steps, she heard the echo of conversation guys.
“We’re not boys, and guys,” Martin said loudly.
“Guys?” asked Nikolos, “Then let’s go to the police guys to understand who is guilty of arson.”
The boys sat down. They quickly began to exchange glances.
“Nikolos, let’s solve the issue without police,” suggested Martin.
“Why do we need the police?” said Willy.
“Now, I fully agree with the guys,” said Jacov.
Hans drove a foot through the snow and was silent.
“Let’s try to solve the problem themselves,” Nikolos offered, “you must promise me that grandmother Hilda not will teasing is.”
“I to give The word,” said Martin.
“Me too,” Willie said, and looked at Martin.
“Finally,” with relief in his voice, Jacov said.
Hans still drove a foot through the snow and was silent. Martin pushed him in the side. Hans stepped aside and whispered, “I will not, I will not.”
“Once you agree, then you can go,” commanded Nikolos and looked at Elsa.
Nikolos smiled and Elsa him the same. She took off her gloves and pulled on his green cap to the eyebrows.
“Hi,” she greeted.
“Hello, Elsa, “Nikolos said, and held out her hand.
Elsa took Nikolos arm and stopped. Then timidly she pulled down her arm and looked down.
“Elsa, what’s the matter?” asked Nikolos smiled.
“You’re embarrassing me with his gray eyes and impish smile,” murmured Elsa.
“Ah, you have not changed. I recognize the sly fox Elsa, ‘Nikolos said,’ let’s go home prude.”
“Come on,” she sighed.