Королевская корова

Nina Dashevskaya (translated by Alexandra Franklin)
The Royal Cow
Once upon a time…
A boy came to his mother and asked:
“Draw me a cow, please!”
The mother of this boy wasn’t just any ordinary mother. She was a queen! This, of course, meant the boy was a prince.
“Ooh,” thought the queen, “it’s thought I can do anything. Fireworks for three days – easy! Fireworks are nothing though. I can snap my fingers and a war starts! Or say I want to build a castle on a vast plain. Even with plumbing! Though a cow… I cannot draw. I don’t have this kind of talent. Maybe I can get a courtier painter to do it?”
The queen looked at her son, fixed his messed-up, lace shirt with ruffles. She looked into the future king’s stern, gray eyes.
She understood: looks like she’s got to draw it herself.
The queen took a deep breath and grabbed some pink paper with the royal seal on it. Then, she dipped her golden feather in the ink and drew something resembling a suitcase. Next, she added four stick legs and a tail that looked like a broom.
Now she had to draw the face. Can you picture the face of a cow? Well the queen had no idea what it looked like. Not at all! However, she courageously shook the excess ink off the feather and got to work. She drew the only face she knew how to draw: two dots as eyes, a comma as a nose… The ears! Don’t forget the ears! Oh, and the horns! It’s still a cow after all…
The suitcase with the human face was happily waving its broom tail and eating a daisy. It was also smiling a huge smile from ear to ear!
The queen, unsure of her painting, shrugged and showed the boy her creation. The harsh gaze of the successor suddenly lit up:
“Mother, mommy! What a lovely cow! I wanted one just like this… to smile - exactly like that!”
Then the young prince started jumping on one leg with delight and even spun around on his heel – since he was the only person in the castle who had permission to turn his back to the queen!
The queen was watching him and thinking: “That’s my boy. The future king – fair-minded and generous!” Then she looked at her picture again and changed her mind: “No, just generous… soon when he’s all grown up he’ll get rid of the royal taxes, the death penalty, our army… will collapse the whole kingdom, for crying out loud! No, I’d better be strict with him…”
Then she kissed the boy on his small, hot, freckled nose.
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