Rita Vespa    

THE RAGDOLL

Translated by Maria Jędrysik    ●    Illustrations: Kamila Dańko

 

                                                     

 

 

                                                                  „…Who would have taken such an old dirty thing?...”

 

 

 

 

For Mary, Ragdoll was the best and the most beautiful thing in the world. She made her herself, with the little help of her grandma. Grandma didn’t grudge her lace and colorful beads. Now the only thing that made Ragdoll different from an ordinary rag were her smiling blue eyes. The girl and her dolly would sit on the bench in front of their hut, waiting for the parents to come back from the field.

 

 

One day Mary’s father went to town to do some shopping and bought Mary lovely red shoes with orange laces. Mary put her dolly on the bench and began to dance. Her legs were merrily jumping up.

- Let the whole world see my beautiful shoes! - She called out and ran down the lane through the village to the fields.  When she got blisters on her heels she came back home.

- My feet are killing me! – She complained – Ragdoll, my sore feet! She reached out for the dolly, but there was nobody on the bench, she looked down under the bench, still nothing.

- Grandma, where’s my Ragdoll? – She cried out. She entered the chamber and saw sad grandma sitting at the table.

- The highwaymen were in the village and they stole everything worth stealing – The old woman wailed.

– They didn’t come to our house though. There is nothing to steal.

Every now and then crying could be heard coming from the village: – The bandits, the robbers!

Still, Mary’s cry was the loudest:

– They took my Ragdoll, the best thing in my life.

Grandma started consoling her granddaughter:

– Who would have taken such an old dirty thing? You are yelling as if you were the richest girl in the village robbed.

- Grandma, she is the best thing in my life, I must find her. - Said Mary resolutely.

 She waited till nobody paid attention to her any more and ran barefoot to the woods. Everybody knew where in the woods the highwaymen had their hiding place. The woods turned out to be more mysterious then she had thought. She was here so many times and she knew every single tree and where the animals slept and where the mushrooms and the wild berries grew, but she had never seen a highwayman. She searched the woods thoroughly, her sore feet aching. She lost the hope of ever finding Ragdoll. Sad and tired, she got the stream bank.  With a relief she put her feet into the cold water. The tears came down her cheeks

 

 

- I am too big to cry but since nobody can see me, I will cry – She said and started sobbing.                           

 She stooped to pick up a yellow leaf that got stuck between her toes; suddenly she saw through the tears that it was not a leaf. It was a ribbon from Ragdoll’s braids. She looked around, then she looked up to the top of the trees, but there was nothing suspicious.

- It’s not magic, Ragdoll must have been here! – She thought putting the ribbon in her pocket and started wondering which way to go.

- I’ll go to the spring, of the stream, that’s where the ribbon came from – She decided and started wading in the mainstream, carefully looking around.

She came to the rocky mountain where the stream took is spring from. She noticed that the spring must have been deeper under the rocks. She came closer and felt a chilly waft on her face, and then she heard the rustle of the waterfall.

- It’s impossible to find Ragdoll here. – She thought, but the curiosity made her go on.  It was hardly possible for her to squeeze her body under the rocks, and then she fell into the very cold lake in the cave. On one side, there was the waterfall, on the other a hole through which the sun was shining. She managed to make her way out of the water and saw a child sitting at the exit of the cave. 

 

 

 

She walked up quietly and noticed Ragdoll in the little girl’s arms. Ragdoll’s flax  white, loose hair drying up in the sun. It was too much; Mary snatched the doll out of the girl’s hand.

- How could you ever touch her. 

 

 

 She gave her angry look. There was sadness in the little one’s eyes, she was obviously sick.

- She really is sick. – Mary heard a voice above her – In the morning her father gave her this strange doll. She took it and smiled first time from a very long time. We washed the doll in the stream and tried to dry her in the sun.

Said the fat highwaywoman. Then she whispered:

- Your doll is magic.

 The highwaywoman took Mary by the hand and they went to the chamber in the rock, where on the sacks full of gold   colorful, diamond – eyed puppet-clowns were sitting.

 

 

 - My daughter doesn’t want any of these, costly as they are, please, take them, but leave Ragdoll here. You don’t need her any more - Begged the woman - You are big and brave, you are not even afraid of me, though I’m said to be scary.

Mary’s heart was breaking, but she didn’t let go of Ragdoll.

- The beautiful clowns make you sick. – She thought and started walking towards the exit.

When she walked past the sick girl, suddenly… she threw the doll on the girl’s knees.

 

 

- Her name is Ragdoll – She whispered distinctly looking attentively around trying to find the way out. The highwaywoman walked up to her, smiled and gave her a gold coin.

- Whenever you miss your dolly you’ll get richer. – She said and showed her way home.

 Mary ran as fast as she could to the fringe of the village. There she sat in a ditch to rest. Then she thought of Ragdoll and her hart sunk. Suddenly, she remembered the ribbon fished out of the water. She looked in her pocket and found not one but two gold coins shining brightly. She frowned and said:

 

 

– All right, how come I never found the other ribbon on my way?

 

 

 

 

                              

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