Parables of m. Varnava (In English). Part 2.

Монах Варнава. Маленькие притчи. Том 1

Monk Varnava. Small parables. Vol 1.

Перевод выполнила Голомолзина Екатерина


The Tap


The tap boasted, “If I weren’t here, you’d all die of thirst!”

And how to argue with this? Everybody sees that water really flows out of the tap.

One day a breakdown happened. A plumber came and overlapped the water.

There was no water running anymore, no matter how hard people tried to open the tap!

Then people guessed the tap was not the reason for water running.

The most important thing the tap realized was that because it himself nearly died of thirst.


Illustrator: Viacheslav Polezhaev


 “The Fastidious Nettle”

Привередливая крапива


The nettle once decided to make friends with somebody.

It saw a rose, hugged it and was disappointed immediately, “Beautiful but spiky! I won’t be friends  with you.”

The nettle walked along all gardens and forests and didn’t find anyone to make friends with. Chamomile was too gentle to make friends with, thistle was rude and lily was very moody.

Then the nettle got to the country road. And it saw a plant that was ready to help everybody. It was plantain. But the nettle didn’t like it either, “Kind but ugly!”

Never could the nettle found a friend.

If the nettle was lucky to find a friend no one could get along with it. But not because it was stinging and plain!


 “The Laziness”



The laziness kept on being lazy and persisted in it so long that eventually it was reluctant to be lazy.

“I wish anybody would help me stop being so lazy”, it prayed.

Finally, a newspaper was brought to it.

It lied down on her bed, and was about to read the newspaper but… it was so lazy to do it.

Flies began to annoy it. The laziness folded the newspaper to wave off the flies.  But she was too lazy to do it.

“Let them bite me!”

She closed her eyes and fell asleep.

The laziness shouldn’t have done it.

The newspaper was called “Labour”!


“The Silliness”


The silliness was advised to get smarter.

It should have followed that piece of advice but it declared, “and who is it that advised me? The one who nearly got into trouble himself due to his light mindedness. The one who started up his business instead of defending his dissertation. As for the other advisers, they should themselves develop. I’ll wait till someone, who is really smart, gives me advice. ”

And the silliness is still waiting. It could have become intelligent long ago.




“The Poor Couple”

Бедная пара

There appeared a hole on a sock. And then the other sock said, “We can’t make a pair any longer!”

He went away looking for a better pair.

The landlady saw the sock with a hole and tried to find the sock that used to make a pair. She failed to find it and started to use the holey one as a rag.   Suddenly she found the intact sock. Since there was no pair to it, she also started to use it as a rag.

It was a pity… If she had mended the holey sock, they would have served much longer.


“Generous Greed”

Щедрая жадность

Once upon a time the greed decided to give half of her wealth to the poverty. The greed divided the wealth into two parts. And it didn’t know what part to give away. At first one part seemed to be bigger, and then the other seemed to be bigger. It didn’t want to give away the bigger part of her fortune. And made up its mind to make it smaller and smaller…

Then greed kept on dividing its riches till only one tiny part was left.

“That’s all right”, said the greed, the poverty will be happy to have even that tiny part!

The poverty was happy to have received that tiny part.

Having lulled its consciousness, the greed became even more greedy.






“The Spider And the Fly”

Паук и муха

A spider chose a fly as another victim. Being clever enough, the fly wouldn’t get into the spider’s net.  The spider invented various tricks to catch the fly!  All in vain!

And finally the spider said, “It’s over, fly! I can’t catch you… You seem to be a special fly! I want to serve you. Sit down on the edge of my net and order whatever you want!

The flattered fly sat down on the edge and… The spider itself was even confused to gain such a quick victory!

So, sometimes flattery and pride can be fatal!


“The Leaf”



A leaf of birch saw its reflection in a puddle and thought, “I look very much like a birch! Here is a trunk, and here are the branches. May I be a real tree too?

And it came off the birch.

The leaf failed to become a tree.  It just fell onto the puddle and swam in it till the puddle dried up. And the leaf itself got dry too.


“The Spider And the Star”

Паук и звезда

One day a spider decided to catch one of the falling stars in its net. Why not? It could light at night and attract silly moths and gnats.

The spider kept on spinning the net till it weaved over the whole forest. But it failed to catch any star. Although a lot of moths and gnats were caught by its net, they weren’t worth the spider’s attention. All the spider needed was a star!

Eventually the spider died of hunger and tiredness.

But might have been another reason?


“An Expensive Price”

Дорогая цена

A fox got offended by the fact that no one saw its new fur coat though the trees. And the fox decided to uproot the forest.

The fox was very cunning and besides it had a gift of persuasion. Some time passed. People uprooted the forest. They noticed the fox’s fur coat in no time. There was only one trouble… The fox never learnt how much they valued it.

They noticed the fur coat and appreciated it. There was only one trouble… The fox would never know when they had done it.



“Nothing In Common”

Ничего общего


The Anger had a son. Its name was Evil. Even the Anger couldn’t get a long with his son.

Once the Anger decided to get his son married to some virtue.

“He is likely to be a bit more delicate. And it will be easier for me to deal with him when I advance in years.”

He kidnapped the Joy and made it marry the Evil.

But this unwished marriage didn’t last long. As the result of the marriage their child, the Gloat, was born.

There can’t be anything in common between good and the evil. But if happens so, you can’t expect anything good from the evil.



“The Drop In the Sea”

Капля в море

The sea called itself “a big drop” for fun.

A drop heard it and called itself a small sea seriously.

It shouldn’t have done it.

As long as you think you are something, you are usually nothing. If only when you understand that you are nothing, you might be something!





“The Caterpillar And a Butterfly”

Гусеница и бабочка

A wonderful butterfly looked at the caterpillar and made a wry face:

“Ugh! You are an ugly face!”

Then the caterpillar looked at the butterfly and whispered,

“Oh, such a beautiful butterfly!”

If only one of them could know about its past and the other about its future…


The Belated Gratitude.

Запоздалая благодарность

One day an aquarium fish happened to be in the river.

Local fish surrounded her, and admired her remarkable outfit. They wondered how well she had lived in domestic conditions.

She recollected her warm and cozy aquarium.

“It was OK, the fish said shivering with cold. Then she complained:

“There was one bad thing about it… I was only fed once a day!”

“It’s better with food here, the local fish calmed her down.

“Eat as much as you want! If you can, of course!”

And they swam away looking for some food.

Only by the evening when the aquarium fish had to be half hungry at night, did she understand what the last words of the local fish meant.

And there was one more thing to understand: she never appreciated what she was given for free.







“the Fairness”


One day Murkathe cat decided she should live Sharik the dog out of its dog house.

Why did she need it for? She herself lived in a spacious house and the dog lived in a tiny kennel.

The matter was that the house didn’t belong to the cat but belonged Sharik.

The cat started to incite that Sharik was quite old and lazy and he was so kind that strange people could pass through their yard freely.

Finally Sharik was kicked out of his kennel. And the cat was put on a chain instead.

The owners were smart. They understood that such a vicious cat could guard the house better than the kind dog.

But they were massiful enough to let Sharik live in the inner porch forever.


“The Revenge”


A revengeful man wrote a dreadful letter to his offender. And put it into a postbox.

He was so angry that mixed up the adresses. Andirons so happened that he sent the letter to himself.

Once he sent it, he received it.

Having read the letter, he trembled with fear. He took a month off staying at home within never leaving it. Though the days were so fine. Every other day was better than the previous one.

Looking out of the window he couldn’t understand why was his offender wondering about the yard as if nothing had happened.

And only when rereading the letter once more he recognized his handwriting. He realized his mistake.

But it was too late to understand. His vacation was over.


“And What’s Next?”

А что потом?

One day the Vanity came to a wise man and said,

“Let’s make friends! Then I will do everything for you!”

“And what exactly will you do for me, the wise man answered thinking over its answer.

“I will help you to become Candidate of Science.”

“And then?”

“Then? A Doctor of Science!”

“Hm… Probably. And then?”

“Then you will become a Profossor, an Academician. People will exalt you and call you a great man!”

“And then?”

“Then you’ll get old!”

“And then my glory will live 10 years after I pass away. And people will hardly remember my name in 100 years! And in 1000 years later? Million years later? So what can you give me?”

The Vanity looked at the wise man, gave a sigh… And it left to look for a person who would make friends with it without thinking long.


“The Two-edged Sword”

 Меч обоюдоострый

There are many true stories about the strength of Mother’s pray.

It can get children from the bottom of the sea, protect them from fire and it’s able to help in every trouble.

But there are some other stories…

Once a child became too naughty. He rushed about the house knoking against many things.

Mother couldn’t stand it anymore and shouted,

“Stop it right now, damned child! Wish your hands and legs would dry up!”

And what?

Some years passed. That situation was completely forgotten. The child grew up very handsome and athletic young man. Everyone admired him. But suddenly he was run over by a car. It was only doctors who knew what had happened to him but he could not move his legs or arms. Nothing could help that poor young man.

What can help if so great is the strength of Mother’s pray…

Or Mother’s curse…


“The Sad Reason”

Грустный повод

An old monk was going in the village.

He saw a son quarreling with his father. The son called his father bad names. And at last he was about to hit his father but could only give a bitter sigh.

The monk kept on walking and noticed a daughter quarrelling with her mother the mother shouted at her daughter and the daughter did the same.

The monk gave a bitter sigh.

When he came to a cemetery to remember the dead, his eyes watered.

Every grave was a young man’s or a young girl’s

It didn’t make him surprised. The fifth commandment read: “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you”.

When reading the commandment carefully, it makes you understand the following. The one who does not honor his father or mother, does not obey or insults them, dooms themselves to sorrows, illnesses and even to an early death.

Every word of the God is true!

It was the old monk who knew it well. And only now did he have one more sad reason to make sure of it.



“The Puddle Which Wanted To Be a Sea”


A puddle had a dream that it was a sea.

Ships sailed, waves rolled in it.

Then it woke up and got upset!..

There were only insects and ants scrolling on it. And the waves were too small and funny!

Suddenly the wind started to blow and the ripples appeared on water. That ripple seemed so great to those insects: no weaker than sea billows.

In no time did the puddle understand that it was also the sea for somebody!


“The Boast”


The Boast kept on boasting… And one day it stopped boasting.

It wasn’t boasting for one day, for two days, three days!

The Virtue was happy,

“At last the Boast has changed for better!”

The Boast immediately answered,

“I haven’t been boasting for three days already!”

And it  immediately made happy all Virtue’s opponents, i.e. people’s vices

and sins.


“The Well Educated Nail”

«Ученый» гвоздь

A nail was sick of staying in a box doing nothing there at. And an idea came to his mind to do something useful at home by himself.

“If I have a hat I am supposed to be a boss or a scientist, thought the nail.” And he decided to peck scratch the walls and the floor.

Later a host had to hammer an idea into his head that a hat had nothing to do with being a boss or a scientist.

The point was there must be some intellect under the hat…


“The bad helpers”

Плохие помощники

One day a silly man found a mushroom and thought,

“Even yesterday wasn’t it here. If it took a night to grow so big, how huge will it be by the evening?”

Instead of haunting more mushrooms, he lay down and waited till the mushroom grew big enough to occupy the whole basket.

He waited and waited till the mushroom became wormy but not big!

That silly man went home with an empty basket.

Silliness and greed are not only bad helpers but they can deprive you of everything you have.