These are children's stories by Svyatislav Sakharnov, Russian naval officer, oceanographer and writer, 1923-2010.
These beautiful things, full of love for the sea, are not translated and are unknown to the English
speaking world, as far as I know. These are from a series of didactic parables for children
, a couple of which seemed really relevant to our community and some of the interactions on here, so I translated a couple of them. Here's the first one:
What Color is the Sea?
It happened one summer. In the North.
The young seagulls gathered at the top of the cliffs. With them was an old guillemot.
The gulls are sitting, waiting to see what the wise bird will tell them.
ďToday Iím going to tell you, what color is the seaĒ the guillemot started.
ďBalderdashĒ! Cried a young gull. ďWho doesnít know, that the sea is dark-blue?Ē
ďWell, all rightĒ Ė agreed the guillemot Ė ďthen listen about how that villain, the jaeger, gets his food. You must know that, in order to be able to fend him off.Ē
But the young ones were already tired of sitting quietly. Frrr! Hop-hop! With noise, with laughter, they flew off.
Unnoticeably winter came, the fish departed for the deeps, and hunting for them became more difficult.
One young gull flew off to hunt. He searched for a long time. He returned a day later Ė the flock is gone. On the cliff is sitting only the old guillemot.
The gull was amazed: where are my comrades?
ďWhere did the seagulls fly off to?Ē Ė he asks.
ďAnd youíre still here?Ē Ė the old one asked irritatedly. Ė Your flock flew South. Catch up with them.
ďBut I donít know the way.Ē He had already forgotten how he had abused the old guillemot earlier.
ďFly there, where thereís sun at midday. When the sea changes its color three times, you will catch up with your flock. Hurry!Ē
The gull threw himself off the cliff. White foam glinted below. He flew for a day, for two. The sea beneath him grew lighter, grew darker, but all the time the same color.
ďApparently the old one was confused!Ē -- thought the gull Ė ďHow can the sea be, other than dark-blue?Ē
He only had just thought about it Ė and ahead there is a yellow stripe. He flew up Ė a great river is flowing into the sea. Turbid yellow waves are splashing below.
So there, the sea changed color.
The gull descended further. Again below him is dark-blue water. He spied therein a trail of sardines, and dived Ė food! He had only begun to climb again when above his head he heard the sound of someoneís wings! A great predatory bird dropped down on him from above like a stone. With a hooked beak like a hawk.
In his fright, the gull dropped his sardine. The jaeger grabbed it and swallowed it. Then kept flying along right on the gullís tail. As soon as he catches a little fish Ė the jaeger flies in and takes it away.
You could cry!
Finally the gull, with effort, shook him off and got away.
He flew on to mountains. Here there is already no winter. Itís hot. Among the cliffs, heated in the sun, a bay is winding around like a snake. The water in the bay is Ė red!
The gull descended right down to the water Ė a teeming mass of tiny red worms is swarming there. So thatís it! The sea changed color for the second time.
The gull is already flying with his last strength. He can barely wave his wings. Behind him the mountains, behind him the bay. Ahead are leafy islands.
He looks Ė the water around the islands is green, like the tundra in the spring.
In the water green balls are floating, thickly, like caviar Ė seaweed. And there are birds above the islands Ė there it is, the flock!
The gullís friends are flying, hurrying to him from all sides . . .
Half a year passed. Again the seagulls returned to the North. Again the big cliff become white with birds.
Somehow the gull descended into the crowd of young seagulls. They were resting after their flights, and listened to the tales of the more experienced birds.
ďWould you like for me to tell you about what color is the sea?Ē Ė the gull started, when his turn came up.
ďWhat nonsense!Ē Ė said loudly the youngest seagull of all Ė ďwho doesnít know, that the sea is dark-blue?Ē
The original text (which is much prettier than my translation) is here for anyone who can read Russian: –*–į—Ā—Ā–ļ–į–∑—č –ł —Ā–ļ–į–∑–ļ–ł (fb2) | –õ–ł–Ī—Ä—É—Ā–Ķ–ļ