|Raisa Kudasheva. [Wikipedia, fair use.]|
The song embedded itself thoroughly in Soviet tradition, and no one remembers that it has an author any more than we remember the author of, say, "Jingle Bells" or "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". Since Kudasheva wrote under a pseudonym, her authorship was not even publicized until an anthologist tracked her down around 1940.
A version of the song from SovMusic.ru.
|В лесу родилась ёлочка,
В лесу она росла.
Зимой и летом стройная,
Метель ей пела песенку:
«Спи, ёлочка, бай-бай!»
Мороз снежком укутывал:
«Смотри, не замерзай!»
Трусишка зайка серенький
Под ёлочкой скакал.
Порою волк, сердитый волк,
Чу! Снег по лесу частому
Под полозом скрипит.
Везёт лошадка дровенки,
На дровнях мужичок.
Срубил он нашу ёлочку
Под самый корешок.
И вот она, нарядная,
На праздник к нам пришла
И много, много радости
|One day a Christmas tree was born.
It grew deep in the wood.
In summer and in wintertime
How slim and green it stood!
The blizzard sang it lullabies:
"My little tree, sleep tight!"
Frost tucked its snowy blanket in:
"Now, don't you freeze tonight!"
Sometimes the timid little hare
Came hopping underneath.
Sometimes the wolf, the hungry wolf,
Ran by and bared his teeth.
Hark! in the woods the crunch of snow
Hangs in the quiet air.
A sturdy shaggy-legged horse
Is hurrying somewhere.
The horse is pulling on a sleigh.
A man is in the sleigh.
He's chopping down our Christmas tree
And driving it away.
And now it's come to stay with us,
Decked out in pretty toys,
To bring great joy and happiness
To all the girls and boys.
And another thing: how much transculturation is in order when translating a song like this? The Wikipedia translation by Durando and Popov changes the hare into a bunny, which makes it more familiar. But rabbits aren't really associated with timidity in English-language folklore [edit: or not] -- does it help or instead obscure the image by bringing in irrelevant associations? What about the sleigh bells that we're supposed to hark to instead of the crunching snow?
On the other hand some details inevitably get lost, both in translation and in kids' understanding of the song. Not only is there no word in English for дровни, a kind of rough wooden sleigh, but surely most of the kids singing the song in Russia this month don't know what it is either.