Русский текст ЗДЕСЬ:
The neighbor's Christmas tree was buried in deep cotton mounds and precious silver ornaments. Six-year-old Sasha stood frozen by the coming to life story of the swaying branches and bright lights, which filled the room from the floor to the ceiling.
- How lucky you are to have such a tree! What a beautiful tree!
'I somehow said that in a very adult like manner, - thought Sasha, feeling happy and proud. - Grandfather would have said so with similar words and tone. No, he would have said it a bit differently.'
- I was taken away by your beautiful tree! Our tree turned out much weaker! - Sasha added her grandfather's favorite words into the sentences. At that moment a childlike expression caught Sasha's face, bringing a pout to her lip and ending her grown-up present. - Yes, our tree is much worse. Our tree isn't anything like this one. This one has much more cotton, and ours has older decorations. Mama, isn't it true that our tree turned out weaker?
Her mother turned away upset, obviously irritated at the embarrassing chatter of her daughter.
"Again, something isn't right. I am always doing something wrong," - at this point Sasha's soul tightened, leaving no room for holiday spirit. - "How could I have said something like that about our tree? Mama is now embarrassed in front of our neighbors, and she thinks I'm a silly tattle tale."
The adults started their long and boring conversation, and a friend pulled Sasha towards the toys and into the deep quiet of the December night.
In the morning the street was sparkling with frost, and snowflake by snowflake the winter song of New Year's Eve was unfolding. Piles of snow on the main street were packed down by the passing vehicles. Children were sliding down the slippery road as if skating on ice, and parting to the sides to the orchestra of approaching crunch of the wheels. On this final morning of the ending year, at the corner by the old school a festival was taking place. Sasha recited for everyone a poem she had memorized, and put into it enough effort and feelings to win the prize of a small rubber fish.
- This toy was meant for a girl much smaller than you; I have nothing suitable for someone your age, - apologized the German language teacher who had offered the prize.
- I will give this fish to my little cousin! - quickly reacted Sasha. What was important to her was the fact of winning the prize.
- But why does it have to go to your cousin? - asked her mother, standing nearby. - Do you not have a little brother?
Sasha again began to feel out of place, but her father had already put her into the sled and started pulling her toward the road where the event of the day was taking place.
No songs or dances of town people, but a real horse with a real sleigh was the climax of this New Year's Eve. Sasha had seen this horse before coming down the main street, but the driver would rush out of town as if embarrassed by his old fashioned ways. Now, surrounded by the festival, and being the center of attention, the driver was giving rides, circle by circle, to anyone who wished. There was no room for Sasha in the sleigh, and she became worried that the horse would soon disappear, and the girl began to cry. As the horse began to move, Sasha's innovative father attached Sasha's small sled to the sleigh, he himself ran next to her, surprising Sasha with his ability to run as fast as the horse.
Later, exited Sash was taken home for lunch. At the table, she spent a long and impatient time connecting the cold bubbles of the fat into a large one, which took up half the ocean in her bowl; constantly interrupting with her plea: "Thank you, I'm full, can I please be excused?" With her entire heart, she dreaded this time of day, and there was nothing in life which she detested more than that full bowl of cabbage soup, followed by the long minutes of the boring and sleepless nap time.
--Father Frost will only bring you a present if you will be a good girl and will try to fall asleep for your nap," - warned her mother. Sasha didn't believe in Father Frost. She quickly glanced in the direction of the glass jar on the table out of which stuck out the Christmas tree, barely covered with tinsel and balls. Behind the clumsy tree, the girl spotted the presents hidden before-hand by her mother, but deciding not to upset her, Sasha wisely glanced away.
-- So, if you don't fall asleep, Father Frost will leave you without presents," - Sasha's mother said, cautiously eyeing the gifts, as if checking that the bag of candies was hidden well enough. Sasha began to feel sorry for her.
-- I will definitely try to fall asleep, - Sasha answered, making wide innocent eyes at mother, pretending to be unaware of the already guaranteed gifts. During the next two hours, it was very difficult, and perhaps unordinary, to not once whimper in hope of permission to "wake up." Several times mother slightly opened the door to check on her daughter. Just barely hearing her footsteps, Sasha would in advance turn onto her left side, freezing in the same position in which she was seen previously, giving her mother the impression of being sound asleep.
-- Time to wake up, - Sasha's mother whispered, touching Sasha gently on her shoulder. - Look, at what is under the tree!
-- Where did these come from? -questioned Sasha, acting surprised as she rubbed her eyes and looked up at her smiling mother.
-- That's what Father Frost brought you while you were asleep!
Mother's eyes filled with an almost childlike excitement, as if it was she, not her daughter, receiving the presents left by a magician. Sasha's heart was unpleasantly tickled with embarrassment. Feeling pity for her naive and seemingly small mother she, at the same time, felt satisfied to see mother happy an relaxed at last. Mother's face was filled with warmth. With all of her heart and soul, the girl understood that it wasn't for nothing that she had pretended to be asleep for those two endless hours. Her own thoughtfulness suddenly gave her strength, and she became more aware of her maturity. For so long, Sasha had never believed in Father Frost, but for the first time she understood that magic was created by people. And now she had realized that people created magic for a reason.