Kir bulychev — the little girl nothing ever happens to

Copyright 2002 by Kir Bulychev

Translated by John H. Costello

The Little Girl Nothing Ever Happens To

Stories about the life of a little girl of the 22nd Century, as recounted by her father

In Place of a Foreword

Tomorrow Alice starts school. It will be a very interesting day. Her friends and acquaintances have been on the videophone to her all day and everyone is congratulating her. In fact Alice hasn’t let anyone have any peace for the last three months just talking about her new school.
The Martian Boose sent her some sort of remarkable pencil case which no one ha s been able to open not me, not my co-workers, who include two Doctors of Science, and the Moscow Space Zoo’s chief mechanic.
Shusher said he would accompany Alice to school to make certain she got a sufficiently experienced teacher.
There has been an astonishing amount of fuss. From my recollection, when I went to school for the first time, no one bothered to raise such a bother.
Now the commotion has died down somewhat; Alice has gone off to the Zoo to say good- bye to Bronty.
And finally, it’s quiet in the house, and I can sit down and dictate a number of events from the lives of Alice and her friends. I’ll send these notes to Alice’s teacher. It will let her know what sort of dilettante she has to deal with in me, and it will let her know what she’s getting into with my daughter.
From the very first, Alice was a child like any other. Until about three. The proof of my statement will be the events I relate first of all. But about a year ago, from when she first met Bronty, I have observed in her character the wisdom to do things not quite as everyone expects them to be done, to vanish at the most inconvenient times and even to by accident! make discoveries beyond the powers of even the greatest of modern scientists. Alice has the ability to get everyone to do what she wants, despite which she has a mass of good and true friends. For us, her parents, this has been very difficult. We are simply not able to just sit around at home all the time. I work in the zoo, and my wife is an architect constructing buildings, most of the time on other planets.
I want to warn Alice’s teacher before she meets my daughter herself. Quite simply, things are not going to be easy. So let her pay attention to a number of completely truthful accounts of my daughter’s experiences and adventures in various places of the Earth and space over the last three years.

On the Dialing of Random Numbers

Alice would not go to sleep. It was ten O’clock already and she would not go to sleep. I said:
“Alice, you must go to sleep now, or else I….”
“Or else what, papa?”
“Or else I shall call Baba Yaga.”
“And who is Baba Yaga?”
“Hmm… That is something all children have to learn. Baba Yaga is the Wicked Witch of the North! She lives in a giant castle on stilts made out of chicken leg bones. She’s an evil old woman who eats small children… Disobedient small children…”
“Why?”
“Well, because she’s evil and hungry!”
“But why is she hungry?”
“Because there are no stores nearby, and no food service to her castle.”
“Why not?”
“Because the castle is too old and it’s too far away in the forest.”
Alice had become so interested she even sat up in bed.
“Does she work in the nature preserve?”
“Alice, go to sleep immediately!”
“But you promised to call Baba Yaga! Please, papa, please call Baba Yaga!”
“I will call her. But you will be very sorry that I did!”