The crescent beach is no more, Thereís not a trace left of the oaks. Oak is great for parquet - So thatís that: Some husky slobs Came out of their hut And cut them down For coffins! Itís great to live in houses On chicken, on chicken legs. But a doltish sort Arrived, putting people in a fright! A great guy he was, Got the old witch drunk And did a brave deed - He burned the house down. Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! There is a cat here, true, Walking left - he sings, To the right - he tells a joke! Real learned son-of-a-bitch, Took the golden chain To a pawn shop, And then off To a liquor store. Once it happened that as a gift He got some royalties - And Crescent Beach Stank to high heaven Of booze. But he got apoplexy, And to escape the wrath of God Heís dictating a memoir About the Tartars! Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! Thirty-three bogatyrs Decided theyíd been had, Guarding the Tsar And the seas. They all grabbed a plot of land And started raising chickens, sitting there Guarding their own, Not on the job! Stripping a green oak. Their chief Turned it into firewood. The troop Started getting crude with the folk. And day after day Their old sea chief cursed and screamed, Though he had a place Near Moscow. Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! And the water nymph - what a tale! She didnít keep her virtue for long, And gave birth, best she could. Thirty-three muzhiks Donít want to know Their little son. Let him be, for now. The son of the regiment. Once it happened a certain wizard And liar, blatherer, and laugher, As an expert In the ways of the ladies, Suggested to her: Water nymph, Iíll understand, Iíll take you and your baby! So she went off to him As to a prison. Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! The bearded Chernomor Crescent Beachís top thief, He made off with Liudmila long ago - Oh, heís cunning! He takes advantage of the fact That he can fly. Youíre standing there with your mouth open, And heís gone. And the flying carpet Was turned over to a museum last year; The inquisitive folk Shove through! Carefully the old codger Steals women-no matter how much they weep - Oh, let him be a cripple, The faster! Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! Once it happened That a wood goblin didnít get enough to drink, So he beat up his wood-goblin wife. He yowled: Gimme a ruble, otherwise Iíll nail you! Am I the breadwinner or not? Gimme it or Iíll drink up The chisel!                 Take it easy, take it easy, the grief Iíve got in my heart! Thatís only the opening line Of the fairy tale ahead! As for unheard - of animals And stuff - thereís none of that anymore: The hunters came in droves, And that was that! So that itís no secret That the crescent beach is gone! Everything that the poet wrote of Is blather! Take it easy, take it easy, grief, Donít wound my soul! If thatís the opening line, Then the fairy tale is poppycock!
© H. William Tjalsma. Translation, 1982
[1 Song refers to a poem of Pushkinís, Ruslan and Lyudmilla,
about a cat in an oak tree by the seashore,
who tells fairy tales about "old Russia", the "real Russia".]