The Muddle

Kornei Chukovsky

Book Description

Once the kittens raised a row: “Oh, how dull it is to miaow! Let us better bark like doggies: Bow-wow-wow" After that the ducklings spoke: “What’s the good of quacking, folk? Let us better croak like froggies: Croak-croak-croak And the cats began bow-wowing; “Bow-wow-wour!" And the ducklings started croaking; “Croak-croak-croak' And the chickens started quacking: “Quaek-quaek-quack' Then the sparrow hopped along And began a milk-cow's song: “ Moo-oo-ool" Then came Bruin-Touzled-Fur And instead of gr-gr-gr Said “ Cockadoodledoo And the cuckoo shouted too: “Those who say miaow “Why have t to say cu-ckoo ? Shouldn’t say bow-wow. Let me grunt like little piggies: Those who say bow-wow Oink-oink-omk Shouldn’t say miaow. Only little Bunny Didn't think it funny To say miaow or to bow-wow-wow. He lay beneath a cabbage-head And in bunny-language said To coax his naughty playmates: Toads don’t fly and flies don’t browse Nor can crows turn into cows!” But the merry cubs and chicks Wouldn’t stop their naughty tricks. But went on to shout and roar. Even louder than before. Fishes toddled high and dry, Toads went flying through the sky Mice set traps and caught a cat; In a mouse-trap Pussy sat. While the foxes Took match boxes. Walked across the grassy lea And set fire to the blue sea. How it burned and how it smoked! Out a whale’s great muzzle poked: “Fire!” The whale began to shout, “People, help us put it out!” Running up, the crocodile Tried to quench the flames a while With dry mushrooms, cakes and pies. Yet the flames still reached the skies* With a barrel came two hens, But the flames were too immense From the lakes two mfflings swam Bringing water in a pan. With a wooden bucket last Two young frogs came running fast Long they poured and poured and poured, But the flames just roared and roared. Then a butterfly flew by. Flapped and fluttered from the sky; Quieter, quieter grew the flames And went out. Danced and sang in flocks and herds. Stamped their feet and wagged their tales Over all the woods and dales. Baby goslings honked once more As they used to do before: Cats and kittens purred and miaowed And the birdies sang aloud Tweet-tweet-t weetl ” Foals and colts began to neigh "Hee-haw-hawl” Flies and beetles buzzed away “Zzz-zz-zzr Full of joy, the beasts and birds And the little froggies croaked; " Croak-croak-cruakl " And the little ducklings quacked: “ Quack-quack-quack!” Beasts and birds* both tame and wild. Flocking in from earth and sky, Sang in chorus to my child: “Lulla-lulla-by!”

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