The Punishment for Stealing

The Punishment for Stealing : Russian Folk Tales

The Tales are the Presentation of the basic ideals in simple language and form which also discuss moral values that can preserve one's conscience and character if their messages are imbibed.

An old farmer lived in a village with his wife. He had a small piece of land in which he grew vegetables. The farmer and his wife made a living by selling those vegetables.

Once the farmer thought of growing turnips. He asked his wife. "I am thinking of growing turnips this year. What do you say?”

The wife said. ‘If we get good harvest we shall be comfortable.”

“I will water the field and take good care of the crop. The harvest should be fine as a result,” the farmer spoke.

The farmer was lucky. His field grew a bumper crop of turnips. One day, he went to the field to look over his crop. The old farmer was shocked to find bits and pieces of turnips lying all over the field.

The old man was puzzled. A thief would have taken away the whole turnips. The bits and the pieces meant that some enemy was trying to ruin his crop. At home, he spoke to his wife. “I don't understand who is our enemy."

The wife enquired…'Enemy' What happened?"

The farmer informed, ‘There are small bits of turnips all over the field. Some enemy is at work. Who can be our enemy?"

The wife remarked. "No one is our enemy Your old head is imagining crazy things. Some animal is eating away our crop certainty.”

The old farmer felt that his wife was talking sense. So, he went to the field at night to guard the crop. He hid himself with an axe in his hand in the tall grass that grew around the field. At midnight, a big bear entered into the field and started pulling the turnips out of the ground. It ate the fleshy parts and threw down the bits and pieces

The farmer got angry. He threw his axe aimed at the bear. The axe hit the bear's hind leg which got cut off. The bear ran away to the jungle groaning in pain leaving behind the cut off leg. The farmer picked up the leg and went home.

His old woman was pleased to see the leg. She washed it and skinned it. She spun a yarn with the hair of the leg and put the leg in a pot on the stove to cook. The old farmer and his wife enjoyed the meat of the bear leg.

Meanwhile, the bear painfully walked around on three legs and began thinking of ways to settle the score with the farmer. It found a tree branch right enough to serve as its leg. The bear tied the stump with its half remaining leg. Now. it walked about making tap-tap-tap sound.

One morning, the bear went to the house of the farmer. From outside it began singing…

I have a leg of wood.
Know me… you should.
You made me lame,
To settle score I came,
Come out let me thrash you good.

The bear’s call frightened the farmer and his wife. They trembled. Before they could close the door the bear had come in. Both of them rushed to the almirah and hid inside.

The bear sang and walked around the rooms with its wooden leg sounding tap-tap-tap. Suddenly the stump leg loosened and it fell off unbalancing the bear.

The bear fell through the trap door that was there by the side of the staircase to drop down into the cellar. The thud of the bear’s fall brought farmer out of the almirah. He quickly shut the trap door.

The wife of the farmer ran outside and screamed for help. The neighbours rushed in with spears, sticks and axes. They killed the bear. The farmer lived without fear ever after.

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