And there they stood in a file along the bank looking around, frightened. The lake and the forest were still, no sound was heard. Summer so brief, with its white nights when school was over meant freedom and happiness, and they were enjoying it to the full…
The twilights never ended and this illusion kept them in the street until their mothers remembered about them.
From afar came a call which multiplied in echoes, as if Babylon was speaking. The children unwillingly, at a slow pace left their posts. Every day they came here with hope to do a heroic deed. At home, they heard that in the forests the frontier guards saw the footprints of two spies, broken branches and some pieces of paper.
Very small, in fact, but they were found by the dogs. This was danger to all the people and the children wanted to defend their families. So for a few days the children went to defend the frontier…
A stranger would notice at once that they were talking different
languages but understood each other…
And no wonder, here, near the border people of so many nationalities met by chance as it was after the war time. Little Ella was among the neighbours’ boys and girls, her friends Urho, Julia, Elisa, Vyaino… Funny, there were Finns, Jews, Saami and Swedes. Ella was Russian.
She was fascinated by the sounds of these various languages. Even more, at school her new teacher was a true English woman who didn’t understand any language but her native. There was no other teacher for Ella’s class…
One winter evening Ella came up to her fairy tree in the nearest park and hugged the pitchy stem of the fur tree. ” My fairytree, you do know all my secrets. No one else, only you know all… Please, help me to learn how they speak, what t my friends say to me in their languages.
It’s so exciting and thrilling… I’ll do my best, believe me. You just help to me a lilt bit…
Soon Sveja’s parents paid attention that Ella tried to repeat the words, asked questions, wanted to name in Finnish
the things around. So they began to teach her their language. On the opposite there lived the Jews and their Grandpa, who didn’t know Russian, preferred to speak his language.
He taught Ella his language when doing gardening. Oh, yes, there in the North he was growing red tomatoes, blue and red currents. Juicy vegetables and berries was his hobby and he often asked Tania and her friends to help him in the garden He ordered them in his Jewish language. He loved to sing songs and dance between the beds with bright flowers and vegetables.
Oh, life was so exciting for Ella.
School went on and towards the end. It was high time to choose future profession. It was not difficult for Ella. She decided to be an interpreter or translator.
Literature was her another hobby. Oh, it’s so interesting to combine these two…
But the answer from the University was very clear – “No girls are admitted to the translation faculty.” She could enter only the teacher’s department.
Mother ordered Ella to enter the teacher’s department. “Anyway, you will study your English. Pray and God will help you. Let it be your challenge.”
Learning was easy. With thanks Ella remembered her English teacher and Grandpa Moisha. The second language – German – was very similar to his Jewish.
But each time she Ella thought of her cherished desire she felt pangs in heart.
Old Professor smiled at her “Why! Take books and learn yourself. Try to translate something. What are your favourite authors?
Don’t be so down-hearted. Look, all famous writersand many scientists were teachers. That’s so noble to teach a dull child, to open the world for him.
Leo Tolstoy opened a school and acted as a teacher himself! Be proud that you are a TEACHER!”
Ella translated her best beloved Katherine Mansfield. “A Cup of Tea” took away her breath. She admired the words, the sentences. The picture painted in words was beautiful and profound, sophisticated… With one finger, as she had never done it before, Ella typed the translation in the dean’s office and sent it to the women’s magazine “Rabotnitsa”.
The answer was quick and killing. “The translation is good enough but the Soviet woman is not interested in the life of a bourgeois woman”.
Years and years after came perestroika and many girls started working as translators and interpreters. Many non-governmental groups appeared and Ella joined one of them – the women’s film studio “Tatiana” which organised international film festivals.
There Ellavolunteered as translator and interpreter. She was happy, pleased… Once, when the festival was over a New Yorker, Ann Borin, kissed Ella “My dear! You did it!
You did it perfectly! Thanks to you we could communicate so well. You’ve got light in you. Thanks, dear.”
At night in her sweet dream Ella saw her fairy fir tree. It was even higher and bigger. Ella rushed to it, pressed her cheeks to the pitchy stem.
The fir tree hugged Ella “Are you happy now?”
-Yes, yes, so many times yes. Thank you, my dear fir tree!
– Dear Ella, you worked hard and it was not difficult for me to fulfill your request!