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THE STORY OF PETER AND THE WOLF

The story and music for “Peter and the Wolf” was written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 for a children's theatre in Moscow.

Early one morning, Peter opened the gate and walked out onto the big green meadow.  On a branch of a big tree sat a little bird, Peters’ friend.  “All is quiet”, chirped the bird happily.

Just then a duck came waddling round. She was glad that Peter had not closed the gate and decided to take a nice swim in the deep pond in the meadow.  Seeing the duck, the little bird flew down upon the grass, settled next to her and shrugged his shoulders. “What kind of bird are you if you can’t fly?”said he.  To this the duck replied “What kind of bird are you if you can’t swim?” and dived into the pond.  They argued and argued, the duck swimming in the pond and the bird hopping along the shore.

Suddenly, something caught Peter's attention. He noticed a cat crawling through the grass. The cat thought “That little bird is busy arguing, I’ll just grab him”.  Stealthily, the cat crept towards him on her velvet paws.  “Look out!” shouted Peter, and the bird immediately flew up into the tree, while the duck quacked angrily at the cat from the middle of the pond.  The cat walked around the tree and thought, “Is it worth climbing up so high? By the time I get there the bird will have flown away”. 

 

Just then grandfather came out.  He was upset because Peter had gone into the meadow. “It’s a dangerous place.  If a wolf should come out of the forest, then what would you do?”  But Peter paid no attention to his grandfather's words.  Boys like him are not afraid of wolves.  But grandfather took Peter by the hand and led him home and locked the gate. 

In a twinkling the cat climbed the tree. The duck quacked, and in her excitement jumped out of the pond. But no matter how hard the duck tried to run, she couldn’t escape the wolf.  He was getting nearer, nearer, catching up with her.  Then he got her, and with one gulp, swallowed her.

And now, this is how things stood:  the cat was sitting on one branch, the bird on another… not too close to the cat.  And the wolf walked around and around the tree, looking at them with greedy eyes. 

 

In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the closed gate watching what was going on.  He ran home, got a strong rope, and climbed up the high stone wall.  One of the branches of the tree, around which the wolf was walking, stretched out over the wall.  Grabbing hold of the branch, Peter lightly climbed over on to the tree.  

Peter said to the bird “Fly down and circle over the wolf's head.  Only take care that he doesn’t catch you.” The bird almost touched the wolf's head with his wings while the wolf snapped angrily at him, from this side and that.  How the bird worried the wolf!  How he wanted to catch him! But the bird was clever, and the wolf simply couldn’t do anything about it.

Meanwhile, Peter made a lasso and carefully letting it down, caught the wolf by the tail and pulled with all his  might.  Feeling himself caught, the wolf began to jump wildly trying to get loose.  But Peter tied the other end of rope to the tree and the wolfs’ jumping only made the rope around his tail tighter.

Just then, the hunters came out of the woods, following the wolfs’ trail, and shooting as they went.  But Peter, sitting in the tree said “Don’t shoot! Birdie and i have already caught the wolf.  Now help us take him to the zoo”.

And imagine the triumphant procession, Peter at the head, after him the hunters leading the wolf, and winding up the procession, grandfather and the cat. Grandfather shook his head discontentedly, “Well, and if Peter hadn’t caught the wolf? What then?”.Above them flew Birdie chirping merrily “My what brave fellows we are, Peter and I! Look what we have caught!”

And if one would listen very carefully, he could hear the duck quacking inside the wolf… because the wolf in his hurry, had swallowed her alive.

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