Kirill Bulychev: The Girl Nothing Happens To

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Kirill Bulychev The Girl Nothing Happens To
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    The Girl Nothing Happens To
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    Детская фантастика / на английском языке
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The Girl Nothing Happens To: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The Girl Nothing Happens To

(Adventures of 21st-century Alice — Told by Her Father)

by Kirill Bulychev


Tomorrow Alice starts school. It should be a very interesting day. From early morning her friends and acquaintances have been calling her on the videophone to wish her a good beginning. But for three months now, Alice herself has talked only of going to school — giving nobody any peace.

The Martian Buce sent her a really remarkable pencil-box which nobody has been able to open, so far. Not I, nor my colleagues either, though two of them are Doctors of Science and one the chief engineer of the zoo.

Shusha said he would go to school with Alice and ascertain whether her teacher is sufficiently experienced and worthy of my daughter.

A surprising amount of fuss. When I went to school for the first time, I can’t remember anybody making such a hubbub over it.

The turmoil has quieted down a bit now. Alice has gone to the zoo to say good-bye to Bronty.

And while the house is quiet, I’ve decided to tape-record a number of stories about Alice and her friends. I shall pass on the tapes to Alice’s teacher. It will be useful for her to know what a flighty creature she has to deal with. Maybe the tapes will help the teacher educate my daughter.

At first Alice was just like any other child. Until she was three. The first story I’m going to tell will prove my contention. But a year later, when she met Bronty, the knack of doing everything she was not supposed to do suddenly appeared in her character: she got lost at a most inappropriate time and made chance discoveries beyond the powers of the most eminent scientists of our modern age. Alice has a positive talent for taking advantage of those she is on friendly terms with but, none the less, she has droves of real friends. It makes it difficult, sometimes, for us — her parents. You see, we cannot stay home all the time. I work at the zoo and her mother builds houses, sometimes on other planets.

I want to warn Alice’s teacher beforehand — it won’t be easy for her, either. To prove my point, I shall relate some perfectly true stories about what happened to Alice in different places on Earth and in space, over the last three years.


Alice is not asleep. Ten o’clock, and she is not asleep. So then I said: ” Alice , go to sleep at once, or else…”

“What’s ‘or else’, Daddy?”

“Or else I’ll call Baba-Yaga[1] on the videophone.”

“And who’s Baba-Yaga?”

“Why, all children ought to know that! Baba-Yaga, pegleg hag-o, is a terribly wicked old woman who eats up little children. Disobedient ones.”


“Well, because she’s wicked and hungry.”

“And why is she hungry?”

“Because her hut is not equipped with a food supply pipe.”

“Why not?”

“Because her hut is an old rack-and-ruin, far away in the forest.”

Alice became so interested, she even sat up in bed.

“Does she work in a forest reserve?”

“ Alice , go to sleep at once.”

“But, Daddy, you promised to call Baba-Yaga. Please, Daddy dear, call Baba-Yaga.”

“I’ll call her. But you’ll be very sorry I did.”

I went to the videophone and pressed a few buttons at random. I was sure no connection would be made, and Baba-Yaga would be ‘not at home’.

But I was mistaken. The videophone screen lit up, shone brightly, and a click sounded — somebody had pushed the receiving button at the end of the line and, before his image appeared on the screen, a sleepy voice spoke: “This is the Martian Embassy.”

“D’you suppose she’ll come, Daddy?” cried Alice from the bedroom.

“She’s already gone to sleep,” I snapped angrily-

“This is the Martian Embassy,” the voice repeated.

I turned back to the videophone. A young Martian was looking at me. He had green eyes with no eyelashes.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Apparently, I pushed the wrong number.”

The Martian smiled. He was not looking at me, but at something behind my back. Why, of course. Alice had got out of bed and stood behind me, bare-foot.

“Good evening,” she said to the Martian.

“Good evening, little girl.”

“Does Baba-Yaga live in your house?”

“You see,” I said. ” Alice wouldn’t go to sleep, and I wanted to videophone Baba-Yaga to punish her. But I got the wrong number.”

The Martian smiled again.

“Good night, Alice ,” he said. “You’d better go to sleep, or else your Dad will call Baba-Yaga.”

The Martian said good-bye and switched off.

“Well. Now will you go to sleep?” I asked. “You heard what the man from Mars told you?”

“I’m going. And will you take me to Mars?”

“If you behave yourself, we’ll fly there next summer.”

Finally Alice fell asleep, and I sat down again to work. I worked till one in the morning. And at one o’clock, the videophone suddenly gave a muffled whirr. I pushed the button. It was the Martian from the embassy.

“I beg your pardon for disturbing you so late,” he said. “But your videophone wasn’t turned off, and I decided you weren’t asleep yet.”

“That’s quite all right.”

“Would you mind helping us out?” said the Martian. “The whole embassy cannot sleep. We’ve gone through all the encyclopaedias, searched the videophone directory, but we can’t find out who Baba-Yaga is or where she lives…”


A brontosaurus egg was brought to us at the Moscow zoo. The egg was found by Chilean tourists in a landslide on the shores of the Enisei river. It was almost round in shape and wonderfully preserved in the permafrost. When specialists began examining it, they discovered the egg was absolutely fresh. And so they decided to put it in the zoo’s incubator.

Naturally, there were not many who believed it would hatch successfully, but after a week’s time X-ray plates showed that the brontosaurus embryo was developing. As soon as the news went out over intervision, scientists and reporters began flying in to Moscow from all directions. We had to engage all the rooms in the eighty-storey Venus hotel on Gorky Street . And even then, there was not enough room for everybody. Eight Turkish palaeontologists slept in my dining-room, I moved into the kitchen with a journalist from Ecuador , while two women reporters from the magazine Women of the Antarctic were settled in Alice’s bedroom.

When my wife videophoned that night from Nukus where she was building a stadium, she thought she had the wrong number.

All the Earth teletransmission satellites beamed photographs of the egg. Side view, front view, the brontosaurus skeleton, and the egg…

A congress of cosmophilologists arrived in full strength to visit the zoo. But by that time, we had already stopped all entry into the incubator room, and they had to be satisfied with viewing the polar bears and the Martian praying mantis.

On the forty-sixth day of this lunatic way of life, the egg quivered. At that moment my friend, Professor Yakata, and I were sitting beside the armoured glass shelter, where we kept the egg, drinking tea. By then we had stopped believing that anything would hatch from the egg. We didn’t X-ray it any more, d’you see, for fear of harming our “baby”. And we could not make any predictions, because nobody but ourselves had ever tried hatching out a brontosaurus.

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