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Kornei Chukovsky

The Muddle

The muddle

Translated by Dorian Rottenbehg
Illustrated by V.Konashevich

Once the kittens raised a row:
"Oh, how dull it is to miaow!
Let us better bark like doggies:

The muddle

After that the ducklings spoke:
"What’s the good of quacking, folk?
Let us better croak like froggies:

The muddle

So the piglets started miaowing:

The muddle

And the cats began bow-wowing:

The muddle

And the ducklings started croaking:

The muddle

And the chickens started quacking:

The muddle

Then the sparrow hopped along
And began a milk-cow's song:

The muddle

Then came Bruin-Touzled-Fur
And instead of gr-gr-gr
Said "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

And the cuckoo shouted too:
"Why have I to say cu-ckoo?
Let me grunt like little piggies:

The muddle

Only little Bunny
Didn't think it funny
To say miaow
Or bow-wow-wow.

He lay beneath a cabbage-head
And in bunny-language said
To coax his naughty playmates:

"Those who say miaow
Shouldn’t say bow-wow.
Those who say bow-wow
Shouldn’t say miaow.

Toads don’t fly and flies don’t browse
Nor can crows turn into cows!"

The muddle

But the merry cubs and chicks
Wouldn’t stop their naughty tricks.
But went on to shout and roar,
Even louder than before.

Fishes toddled high and dry,
Toads went flying through the sky.

The muddle

Mice set traps and caught a cat
In a mouse-trap Pussy sat.

The muddle

While the foxes
Took matchboxes.
Walked across the grassy lea
And set fire to the blue sea.

How it burned and how it smoked!
Out a whale’s great muzzle poked:
"Fire!" The whale began to shout,
"People, help us put it out!"

The muddle

Running up, the crocodile
Tried to quench the flames a while
With dry mushrooms, cakes and pies,
Yet the flames still reached the skies.

The muddle

With a barrel came two hens,
But the flames were too immense.

From the lakes two rufflings swam,
Bringing water in a pan.

With a wooden bucket last
Two young frogs came running fast.

The muddle

Long they poured and poured and poured,
But the flames just roared and roared.

Then a butterfly flew by,
Flapped and fluttered from the sky;
Quieter, quieter grew the flames
And went out.

The muddle

Full of joy, the beasts and birds
Danced and sang in flocks and herds,
Stamped their feet and wagged their tales
Over all the woods and dales.

Baby goslings honked once more
As they used to do before:

Cats and kittens purred and miaowed :

And the birdies sang aloud:

Foals and colts began to neigh:

Flies and beetles buzzed away:

The muddle

And the little froggies croaked:

And the little ducklings quacked:

Beasts and birds, both tame and wild,
Flocking in from earth and sky,
Sang in chorus to my child:

The muddle

Author: Chukovsky K.; illustrated by Konashevich V.

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