Sunday, August 30, 2009

"My Mother Is The Most Beautiful Woman In The World"


( "My Mother Is The Most Beautiful Woman In The World". This is a story which we had in our school english textbooks. I don't remember which standard but I've most of my textbook stories torn and kept safely till date. Last week while searching some stories for my sister to teach them to nursery kids, I came across this. I immediately thought of posting it and sharing with others. Its a very wonderful story, read it. I've typed exactly word to word from my textbook.)

"My Mother Is The Most Beautiful Woman In The World"

Once upon a time, long, long, ago, when the harvest season had come again in the Ukraine, the villagers were all busy cutting and gathering the wheat.

Marfa and Ivan went to the field early each day, as did all their children. There they stayed until sundown. Varya was Marfa’s and Ivan’s youngest little girl, six years old. When everyone went to the fields in harvest time, Varya went, too. Her legs were so short she had to run and skip to keep up with her mother’s and father’s long steps.

“Varyachka, you are a little slow poke!” her father said to her. Then, laughing loudly, he swung her up on his shoulder where she had to hold tightly to his neck, for his arms were full carrying the day’s lunch and the long scythe to cut the wheat.

In the field, in the long even rows between the thick wheat, Varya knew just what she must do. First, she must stay at least twenty or thirsty paces behind her father, who now took even greater and bigger steps, so that he might have plenty of room to swing wide the newly sharpened scythe.

“Stand back, Varyachka! Mind the scythe!” her father warned. Swish, Swish, Swish, went his even strokes, and down came the wheat, faster and faster, as he made his great strides.

Soon Marfa began to follow Ivan. She gathered the wheat in sheaves or bunches just big enough to bind together with a strand of braided wheat. Varya, eager to be useful, helped gather the wheat, and held each bunch while her mother tied it. When three sheaves were tied, they were stacked against each other in a little pyramid.

“Careful, Varyachka!” her mother cautioned, “wheat side up!”

After a while, instead of long rows of wheat, there were long rows of sheaves, standing stiffly.

Sometimes Varya forgot to follow her mother. On very hot days she stopped to rest upon the warm ground, and let her tired, bare feet and toes tickle the dark, moist earth. A while later she ran and caught up with her mother, and then her mother hugged her to her and wiped her dripping face.

Day after day, Ivan, Marfa and Varya went to the field, until all the wheat was cut and stacked and none was left growing in the ground. Then a big wagon came and everyone pitched the wheat up to the driver who packed it in solidly and carefully, and took it to the threshing barn.

Varya was an impatient little girl. Her impatience was like a teasing toothache. Today it was so great she felt choked, as if she had swallowed a whole watermelon. For today was the last day for gathering the wheat. By evening all the wheat would be cut, stacked in pyramids, and waiting for the wagon to take it to the threshing barn. Tomorrow another wonderful feast day and celebration would come around again. Varya could hardly wait for the feast day to begin.

Bright and early Marfa, Ivan, and Varya went to the field. “We must get to it,” warned Ivan, “this is our last day to get the wheat in!”

“It has been a good crop, Ivan, hasn’t it?” asked Marfa.

“Indeed, yes!” Ivan answered heartily. “And it will mean a good warm winter with plenty to eat. We have much to be thankful for.”

Marfa and Ivan worked quicker and harder than ever. They did not seem to notice the hot sun. the wheat swished almost savagely as it came rushing down.

But to Varya the day seemed the longest she had ever lived. The sun seemed hotter than on any other day, and her feet seemed almost too heavy to life.

Varya peered into the next row of wheat which was not yet cut. There it was cool and pleasant and the sun did not bear down with its almost unbearable heat. Varya moved in just a little further to surround herself with that blessed coolness. “How lucky I am!” she thought, “to be able to hide away from the hot sun. I will do this for just a few minutes. Surely Mamochka will not mind if I do not help her all the day.”

Soon Varya grew sleepy, for in so cool a place, one could curl up and be very quiet and comfortable.

When Varya woke, she jumped to her feet and started to run toward her mother. But her mother was nowhere in sight.

Varya called, “Mama”, “Mama”, “Mamochka”, but there was no answer.

Sometimes her mother got ahead of her and was so busy with her work she did not hear.

“Maybe if I run along the row, I will catch up with her,” Varya thought.

She ran and ran, and soon she was out of breath, but nowhere could she see her mother.

“Maybe I have gone in the wrong direction,” She said to herself. So she ran the other way. But here, too, there was no trace of her mother.

Varya was alone in the wheat fields, where she could see nothing but tall pyramids of wheat towering above her. When she called out, her voice brought no response, no help. Overhead the sun was not so bright as it had been. Varya knew that soon it would be night and that she must find her mother.

When it was almost dark, Varya stumbled into a clearing where several men and women had paused to gossip after the day’s work. It took her only a second to see that these were strangers, and that neither her mother nor father were among them.

The little girl stared ahead of her, not knowing what to do. One of the men spied her and said in a booming voice which he thought was friendly, “Look what we have here!”

Everyone turned to Varya. This made her burst into tears.

“Poor little thing,” cried one of the women, putting her arms around Varya, “She is lost!”. But this sympathy, and the strange voices made Varya want her mother all the more. She could not help crying.

“We must know her name, and the name of her mother and father. Then we can unite them,” said the women.

“Little girl, little girl,” they said “What is your name? What is your mother’s and father’s name?” But Varya was too unhappy too speak.

Finally because her longing for her mother was so great, she sobbed out;

“My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world!”

All the men and women smiled. The tallest man, Kolya, clapped his hands and laughingly said, “Now we have something to go on.”

This was long, long go, when there were no telephones and no automobiles. If people wanted to see each other, or carry a message, they went on their two feet.

From every direction, friendly, good-hearted boys ran to village homes, with orders to bring back the beautiful women.

“Bring Katya, Manya, Vyera, Nadya,” the tall man, Kolya, called to one boy.

“Ay, but don’t forget the beauty, Lisa,” he called to still another boy.

The women came running. These were orders from Kolya, the village leader. Also the mothers, who had left the fields early to get supper for their families, thought perhaps this was indeed their child who was lost.

As each beautiful woman came rushing up, blushing and proud that she had been chosen, Kolya would say to her: “We have a little lost one here. Stand back, everyone, while the little one tells us if this is her mother!”

The mothers laughed and pushed, and called to Kolya: “You big tease! What about asking each mother is this is her child? We know our children!”

To Varya this was very serious, for she was lost and she was desperate without her mother. As she looked at each strange woman, Varya shook her head in disappointment and sobbed harder. Soon every known beauty from far and near, from distance much further than a child could have strayed, had come and gone. Not one of them was Varya’s mother.

The villagers were really worried. They shook their heads. Kolya spoke for them. “One of us will have to take the little one home for the night. Tomorrow may bring fresh wisdom to guide us!”

Just then a breathless, excited woman came puffing up to the crowd. Her face was big and broad, and her body even larger. Her eyes were little pale slits on either side of a great lump of a nose. The mouth was almost toothless. Even as a young girl everyone had said, “A homely girl like Marfa is lucky to get a good husband like Ivan.”

“Varyachka!” cried this woman. “Mamochka!” cried the little girl, and they fell into each other’s arms. The two of them beamed upon each other. Varya cuddled into that ample and familiar bosom. The smile Varya had longed for was once again shining upon her.

All of the villagers smiled thankfully when Varya looked up from her mother’s shoulder and said with joy:

“This is my mother! I told you my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world!”

The group of friends and neighbours , too, beamed upon each other, as Kolya repeated the proverb so well-known to them, a proverb which Varya had just proved:

"We do not love people because they are beautiful, but they seem beautiful to us because we love them."

(After reading this story I just wished to hug my mom (infact both my parents) but they are not here. I just wish they come back soon. We can't stay away long from our loved ones. Anyhow even if we stay and get to know of their coming, the days become much more longer and refuse to pass away soon.)


  1. Thank you! What a wonderful story! Would it be okay if I copied it to tell to my grade 3 students this year?

  2. I would love and be grateful if you pass on this story to your students and help me to share the goodness through it...

  3. I came across your blog while searching with the keywords mamochka and varyachka.
    You already know why :) I remembered the story too, from the school days.
    In fact, I would love to buy all the textbooks from those days. I have had no luck - I tried asking various places and people in Bombay. Do you have any suggestions? Or can I make a photocopy of the textbooks that you have saved?
    For example, here is one memory - maybe it was in the 3rd? grade or earlier, there was a story about Eddie the gatecrasher. Where the small boy gatecrashes into a party? and crawls under the dining table to come face to face with an octopus?
    Please email me,
    Um, if it is possible, please remove my email address from this comment before posting it - otherwise I may get spam.

  4. In my excitement, I did not notice that you have the torn pages of all the english textbooks.
    Please, please, please - can I make photocopies of all your pages? I would be eternally grateful. I loved India as it was until 1991.
    I hope to hear from you soon.

  5. Wow I have searching for this story for so long! Thank you so much. Do you have the story where an army surrounds a city and small girl saves by using her wits. She will keep a goat/some animal outside their city and feed it. The army will think they have lot of food and think it will be difficult to defeat them and hence go away.

    1. Yes I do. The story is of a little girl from Algeria.