Wolves by A. K. Tolstoy

When the streets empty out

and the singing dies down

and a white fog covers

the swamps and the town,

from the forests in silence

one after another

the wolves come out and go hunting.

 

Seven wolves walk on bravely;

in front of them walks

an eighth with white fur;

while bringing up the rear

is a ninth, who is lame:

with a heel that is bloody

he completes their mysterious procession.

 

Nothing frightens or scares them.

If they walk through the town

not a dog will bark at them,

while a man will not dare

even to breathe if he sees them.

He becomes pale with fear

and quietly  utters a prayer.

 

The wolves circle the church

carefully all around;

into the parson’s yard they enter,

with tails sweeping the ground;

near the tavern they listen

pricking their ears

for any words being said that are sinful.

 

All their eyes are like candles,

sharp as needles their teeth.

Go and take thirteen bullets,

with goat’s fur plug them in,

and then fire at them bravely.

The white wolf will fall first;

after him, the rest will fall also.

 

When dawn comes and the townsmen

are awoken by the cock,

you will find nine old women

lying dead on the ground.

In front, a grey-haired one,

in back, a lame one,

all in blood… may the Lord be with us!

 

by Алексей Константинович Толстой (Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy)

(1840s)

translated by Ilya Bernstein

Limer-eeks by Ann McGovern

A werewolf named Wendy is fair,

So long as the sun is up there.

But when the moon rises,

She puts on disguises –

With Fangs and a lot of coarse hair.


 

A ghoul and his girl, for a lark,

Went strolling one night in the park.

They stopped under a light

And the ghoul cried in fright

EEK! Quick, dear, get back in the dark.


 

It’s said there are spooks who find fun

In undoing things that are done.

They go to foot races

And untie shoelaces,

Then watch people trip as they run.


 

There once was a demon as green

As any there ever had been.

He would hide in the grass

To watch people pass,

Convinced that he couldn’t be seen.


 

There once was a pale apparition,

Who suffered from grave malnutrition.

Said Mom, ‘You’ll be a ghost,

If you don’t eat your toast.’

Answered he, ‘That’s just superstition.’


 

– all limericks are by Ann McGovern