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The Bread Queen

by Elena Sunshine Magazine 5 months ago in Short Story
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She lived in one city — there was a girl Olivia.

Author of the illustration: Mikhail Borisov.

She lived in one city — there was a girl Olivia. She had a younger brother Benjamin. Olivia was in elementary school, and her brother went to kindergarten. The parents of the children worked in the hospital, treated people. The children also had grandparents. Some of them lived by the very blue sea, while others in a village outside the city. When summer came, the parents took the children out of town to their grandparents. They promised to come as soon as they have a vacation.

Olivia had visited her grandparents in the village more than once. She loved it here. In the morning, she was woken up by a loud-voiced rooster. Colorful and fragrant flowers looked in at the window, and in the morning it was so pleasant to wash with water from the well. For breakfast, the grandmother poured warm fresh milk and gave her granddaughter a hunk of fragrant bread.

Olivia liked milk and bread, but she didn’t like bread crusts and always tried to throw them away or hide them somewhere. The grandmother then found these crusts in the most inappropriate places and told her granddaughter:

“Olivia, stop throwing bread crusts around. This may not please the Bread Queen very much.

“There is no such Queen,” Olivia said, and continued to throw bread crusts.

Summer was in full swing. In the forest, strawberries ripened with fragrant juice. Camomile glades beckoned to admire flowers and butterflies. A ringing stream offered to quench your thirst. It was pleasant and joyful to run bare feet through the morning dew.

The children’s parents got a long-awaited vacation and came to the village. A few days passed and everyone went to the forest for strawberries. Benjamin took the saucer, Olivia took the cup, mom and dad each took a mug, and grandma and grandpa each took a small jar. The day was warm and sunny. The forest was full of strawberries. Everyone gathered a lot of berries, and sat down to rest in a clearing in the shade of a curly birch.

Mom spread out an embroidered napkin, took out milk and sandwiches, and everyone started eating Breakfast. The milk with strawberry was delicious. Olivia ate a crumb of bread as usual, and tossed the crust of bread behind a tree stump. Then she heard someone snort. She turned her head and saw the hedgehog.

- Olivia! Olivia! You can not throw bread crusts, this may not like the Bread Queen very much.

***

“There is no such Queen,” Olivia said, and was surprised. — Hedgehogs can’t talk. Where did you come from?

- I’ve lived here for a long time, and we all know how to talk.

- Where is it here?

- In the “Bread Kingdom”.

Olivia turned to tell her mother about the strange hedgehog that can talk, and froze in surprise. There was no one in the clearing, no father, no mother, no grandparents, no little brother. Olivia was a brave girl. She wasn’t afraid. “Now I will cross the bridge, then the glade, and beyond the fir forest will be my home,” she thought.

Olivia crossed the bridge, went through the clearing and woods, and still there was no house. How so, she thought, and said aloud:

“Where did my house go?” It needs to be here?

- You are in our Kingdom, she heard the voice of a hedgehog, and without the Bread Queen you won’t find your way home.

- Dear hedgehog, show me the way to the Bread Queen.

- Well. Follow me.

Olivia and the hedgehog set off. They passed a small forest and went out into the field. A golden glow spread across the horizon.

“What is it?” exclaimed Olivia.

- This shines our fairy kingdom — answered her hedgehog. “In our kingdom, you will have to pass a small test. For throwing away bread crusts, you will not receive a single piece of bread. The town you enter will be made of everything sweet. There will be a lot of cakes, a lot of ice cream, cotton candy and other sweets.

“Hooray! How great it is! I will go to the Candy Kingdom!

- You could say that. Only the Queen herself can tell you how to get home. You can get to her if you find a fountain with clean spring water in the town. Goodbye, Olivia. Walk through the meadow and you will soon find yourself at the town gates. They are already waiting for you there.- The hedgehog turned and ran towards the forest.

Olivia boldly walked across the meadow to where the sun shone. Very soon she came to the town gates. Teddy bears stood near the gate. Olivia was not at all surprised when they greeted her. The bears opened the gate and the girl entered the town.

It was a beautiful town. Just wonderful.

The houses in the town were made of waffles, cookies, and gingerbread. There were tables near many of the houses. They were made of multicolored candies. Even the swing was made of candy. All kinds of sweet treats lay on the tables. Dolls in holiday dresses offered Olivia cookies, candy, waffles, and cotton candy. In any house you could get a glass of lemonade or soda.

Olivia played hide-and-seek with the dolls. With bears and dogs in shuffle. She was swinging on a swing and making a cookie house. She ate sugar roses. She really liked the town. By evening, she was so tired that she decided to postpone the search for a fountain with spring water until morning. The dolls put her to sleep in one of the houses on soft cotton candy.

During the night, Olivia had strange dreams. Here she is sitting at the table and grandmother cuts off a heel of a loaf for her. Olivia holds out her hand, and in her hand she has cotton candy. Olivia opens the bread box to get a piece of bread, and instead of bread, a sweet chocolate cake. All night Olivia tried to pick up a piece of bread, and nothing worked for her.

In the morning the girl was awakened by dolls. They were trig and beautiful. Olivia’s whole dress was stained with syrup. Cotton candy and cookie crumbs clung to her dress. The fingers were sticking to each other.

- Why are you so clean? Olivia asked the dolls.

- We don’t eat anything sweet. Here’s your breakfast, — and they pointed to a table full of sweetmeats.

Olivia realized that she would not be able to eat anything sweet today. The town seemed to her not as beautiful today as it was yesterday. Olivia couldn’t look at all these sweets. She wanted to drink fresh milk with a heel of bread. “I need to get to the Queen’s Palace as soon as possible,” she thought, and went to look for a fountain with clean water.

Olivia wandered around the town for a long time, looking for a fountain. Dolls and plush toys could do nothing to help her. They didn’t know anything about a fountain with clear spring water. Olivia was very tired and almost burst into tears with frustration when she suddenly heard the familiar song of the yellowhammer bird.

“Birds can’t drink soda,” she thought. So, somewhere nearby there is a fountain with clear water. Olivia saw the birds and was very happy about them. She ran to the fountain and began to wash her face. When Olivia opened her eyes, she saw that she was standing in the throne room.

The Queen sits on the throne before her. Olivia guessed at once that it was the Bread Queen. The Queen’s hair was like golden ears of wheat. Blue eyes like the sky, dress like the flower glades. The Queen looked severely at the girl.

- Olivia, grandma told you that it’s not good to throw crusts of bread. You didn’t listen to her and ended up in my Kingdom. I can keep you with me, but I know you’ve had strange dreams already tonight.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” — Olivia said. “I made a mistake and I’m very sorry. I will never throw bread around again. Help me get home.

***

- You will be able to get home if you plant the magic grains and pour them from a magical spring. Then you will gather and grind the grain, bake bread, and treat everyone who comes to you. Come to me.

Olivia walked over to the Queen, who handed her a small bag of grains.

- You will leave town tomorrow morning before sunrise. You will find a miraculous glade in the forest near the spring and plant these grains. Only in a miraculous glade can grains grow in one day.

Olivia thanked the Queen and returned to the house. She could hardly wait until morning. As soon as dawn broke, the girl left the town and went to the forest to look for a miraculous glade.

“What a miraculous glade might look like”, — she thought. The hedgehog helped her again. He took the girl to the forest cottage. There she found everything she needed to plant the magic grains.

A miraculous glade was next to the cottage. Olivia planted grains, poured them with spring water and began to wait. Quite a little time passed and small sprouts appeared.

Olivia knew the spikelets would be full and ripe by noon, so she returned to the cottage. She washed the floor, brought water, took a pick and put a bouquet of forest flowers on the table. Then she had to bring firewood to light the stove.

She had barely finished everything when it was noon. Olivia came to the glade. Under the bright sun, the magic ears ripened. Olivia gathered all the grains and went to the cottage. A large spotted cow was waiting for her near the cottage.

- “Olivia, the hedgehog told me that you will bake bread. I brought you some milk.”

Olivia took the miracle mill, ground the grains, kneaded the dough and put it in the oven. Smoke rose from the chimney. Before Olivia had time to get the bread out of the oven and warm the kettle, the forest dwellers came to visit her.

The bear cub brought fragrant honey. The squirrels brought nuts for tea, the fox came with strawberry jam, and the hares brought forest berries. The hedgehog came last. He brought a large bunch of mint.

Olivia took the bread out of the oven and anointed it with the butter the cow had brought. She poured tea with milk for the guests and began to cut the bread. The guests tasted fragrant soft bread, praised it and the hostess. There were many guests, but there was enough bread for everyone. Olivia got the last bread heel. The bread heel smelled so delicious that Olivia could not resist, pressed it to her nose and closed her eyes. The smell was just wonderful.

She remembered her grandmother, how she poured fresh milk in the morning and slicing the bread. Olivia almost burst into tears, and when she opened her eyes, she saw that she was sitting in the kitchen on her favorite chair. In front of her is a mug of fresh milk and a crispy crust of bread.

- “Grandma, you have no idea what history I got into.

- “Why can’t I imagine? You were visiting the Bread Queen.

- “I gave her my word of honor that I would never throw bread around again.

© 2021 Elena Petrova

Short Story

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Elena Sunshine Magazine

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