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by Nikolai Nosov
Translated by Margaret Wettlin
Illustrated by Boris Kalaushin
Blobs was a very good artist. He always wore a long shirt called a smock. He looked very splendid standing in front of his easel, palette in hand, in his smock, and with his long hair thrown back. Anyone could see he was a real artist.
When the Mites refused to listen to Dunno's music, he decided to become an artist. One day he came to Blobs and said:
"Listen, Blobs, I've decided to be an artist. Give me some paints and a brush."
Blobs, who was very generous, gave Dunno all his old paints and brushes.
Just at that moment Dunno's friend Gunky came to see him.
"Sit down, Gunky," said Dunno, "and I'll paint your picture."
Gunky was only too glad to have his picture painted. He sat down and Dunno set to work. He wanted to make Gunky handsomer than he really was, and so he gave him a red nose, green ears, blue lips, and orange eyes. Gunky was anxious to see his portrait. He was so anxious that he kept fidgeting on his chair.
"If you don't stop fidgeting, the picture won't look like you at all," said
"Does it look like me now?" asked Gunky.
"Very much," said Dunno as he painted in a purple moustache.
"May I see it?" asked Gunky when the portrait was finished.
Dunno showed it to him.
"Do I look like that?" cried the startled Gunky.
"Of course you do."
"What did you give me a moustache for? I haven't got a moustache."
"Well, you will have some day."
"And why did you paint my nose red?"
"To make it prettier."
"And my hair blue? Is my hair really blue?"
"Yes, it is," said Dunno, "but if you don't like it, I can make it green."
"It's a very bad portrait," said Gunky. "Here, I'll tear it up."
"I won't let you tear up a work of art," said Dunno.
Gunky tried to take the portrait away from him and they had a tussle.
They made such a lot of noise that Doono and Dr. Pillman, and some other Mites came running.
"What are you fighting over?" they asked.
"Look at this," said Gunky. "Whose portrait is it? Does it look like me?"
"Not in the least," answered the Mites. "It looks like a scarecrow."
"That's just because it has no name on it," said Dunno. "If I put a name on it you'd see who it was straight off."
He picked up a pencil and wrote in big printed letters: "GUNKY". Then he hung the picture on the wall.
"Let it hang here where everybody can see it," he said.
"I will not," said Gunky. "As soon as you go to bed I'll take it down and tear it up."
"I won't go to bed, I'll stay up all night and watch it," said Dunno.
Gunky was so angry that he slammed the door and went home.
Dunno did stay up all night. When everybody else was asleep, he painted pictures of all his friends. He painted Roly-Poly so fat that he couldn't get him all in the picture. He painted Swifty with long skinny legs and a dog's tail. He painted Shot astride his dog Dot. He gave Dr. Pillman a thermometer instead of a nose. He painted donkey-ears on Doono. In a word, he made them all look very foolish. In the morning he wrote names on all the pictures and hung them up. It was a real picture gallery.
The first to wake up was Dr. Pillman. As soon as he saw the paintings he began
to laugh. He liked them so much that he put on his spectacles to get a better
look at them. He examined each picture in turn, laughing very hard.
"Good for Dunno!" he said. "I never had such a good laugh in my life!"
At last he came to his own picture.
"Who is this?" he asked in a stern voice. "Me? It couldn't be me. No likeness at all. Take it down."
"Why?" asked Dunno. "Let it hang there with the others."
"You must be mad, Dunno!" said Dr. Pillman angrily. "Or, perhaps, there's something wrong with your eyes. What makes you think I have a thermometer instead of a nose? I'll have to give you a big dose of castor oil tonight when you go to bed."
Dunno disliked castor oil very much.
"Please don't," he whimpered. "I can see for myself that the picture isn't like you." And he took it down and tore it up.
The next one to wake up was Shot. He, too, liked the pictures. He almost died laughing. But the minute his eyes fell on his own, he stopped laughing.
"Very bad," he said. "It doesn't look like me. If you don't take it down I'll never let you go hunting with me again."
And so Dunno had to take Shot's picture down, too.
The same thing happened with the others. Each of the Mites liked everyone's portrait but his own.
The last of the Mites to wake up was Blobs, who always slept later than anyone else. When he saw his picture on the wall he was furious and said it was no portrait at all — just a mess of paint that had nothing to do with art.
He tore it down and took his paints and brushes away from Dunno.
Gunky's portrait was the only one that was left hanging on the wall. Dunno took it down and went to see his friend.
"You can have your picture if you want it, Gunky!" he said. "And then you and I will be friends again."
Gunky took the portrait and tore it in little pieces. "Very well, let's be friends," he said, "but promise never to paint me again."
"I'll never paint anybody again," said Dunno. "What's the use? You try so hard, and get nothing but blame. I don't want to be an artist any more."
Author: Nosov N.; illustrated by Kalaushin B.
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