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Vitaly Bianki

The First Hunt

The First Hunt

Translated by
freebooksforkids.net
Illustrated by Elizaveta Radlova

Puppy was sick and tired of chasing chickens around the yard. "I'm going to track down wild birds and beasts," he decided. So he ran toward the meadow.

The First Hunt

As he ran about, wild beasts and birds and insects saw him. And each began to think, "U can easily protect myself."

The First Hunt

Meanwhile Puppy had run up to the pond and spied Bittern, standing by the reeds on one leg. The water reached to her knee.

"O-ho! " thought Puppy, "I'll catch her right now." He poised himself to spring onto her back.

The First Hunt

But Bittern glanced at him and strode into the reeds.

The wind whipped about the pond. The reeds bent and swayed

back and forth,
back and forth.

Brown and yellow stripes swayed before Puppy's eyes

back and forth,
back and forth.

The First Hunt

Puppy opened his eyes wide and stared and stared, but he could not spot Bittern in the reeds. "Huh," he Thought, "'Bittern has tricked me. I'm not about to jump into an empty patch of reeds! I'll just catch myself another kind of bird.

He ran over to a hillock and gazed about. There sitting on the ground was Hoopoe. The bird was playing with his topknot, now opening it wide, now closing it tight.

The First Hunt

"Aha!" thought Puppy, "I'll pounce on him from this hillock right now!"

But Hoopoe fell to the ground, spread his wings, opened his tail, and raised his beak in the air. Puppy stared. There was no bird at all, only a many-coloured rag from which a crooked needle protruded.

Puppy marvelled. What had become of Hoopoe? "Could I really have taken this coloured rag for a bird!"

The First Hunt

He dashed over to a tree and sure enough, a small bird was perched on one of its branches, Wryneck.

Puppy rushed at her, but Wryneck scuttled into a hollow in the tree.

"Oho! " thought Puppy. "I have her now!" He stood up on his hind legs and peeked into the hollow. There in the black hole a black snake writhed and hissed terribly!

Puppy leaped back. His fur stood on end and he took to his heels. Wryneck hissed at him from the hollow tree. She twisted her head, and all along her back, like a snake, coiled a stripe of black feathers.

The First Hunt

"Woof! What' a. fright! My legs hardly carried me away in time! I'm not going to hunt birds anymore. I'd do better to catch a lizard."

The First Hunt

Lizard sat on a rock, eyes closed, warming herself in the sun.

The First Hunt

Quietly Puppy crept toward her — then leaped — and grabbed her by the tail.

The First Hunt

Lizard jerked away, leaving her tail in Puppy's clenched teeth, and crawled under the rock. The tail wriggled between Puppy's teeth. Puppy snorted, dropped the tail, and made for Lizard. Where had she gone?

"Well," thought Puppy, "if Lizard has given me the slip. I'll just catch some insects."

He looked around. There were beetles, grasshopers, caterpilliars & butterflies.

The First Hunt

Puppy took off after them, but all of a sudden everything about him changed. It was like a special picture: all were right there, but he couldn't see them.

Green grasshoppers hid in the grass. Caterpillars stretched themselves along branches and laid very still.

Butterflies alighted on trees, closing their wings. There was no way to tell which was the bark, which the leaves, and which the butterflies.

Only tiny Bombardier Beetle crawled along the ground and did not hide.

The First Hunt

Puppy chased after him. But Bombardier Beetle fired a quick sharp stream at the pup. It went right up his nose!

Puppy yelped and turned around; tail between his legs, he ran, over the meadow and under the gate.

He hid in the kennel and was afraid even to poke his nose out the door for a long, long time.

The First Hunt

But the beasts and the birds and the insects once again went about their business, each in his own way.

Author: Bianki V.; illustrated by Radlova E.

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