In praise of the chimney sweep

Since my childhood it has been incomprehensible to me why the piglet and the chimney sweep, these inevitable figures of New Year greeting cards, gambling money and card calendars are considered luck-bringer around the end of the year. I had the luck to eat a New Year’s Eve piglet only several years later, and since then I know that it does not bring but a hearty stomach in the New Year. Since, however, we live next to a forest, and heat with wood, I also know that the chimney sweep does bring luck in the last months of the year, as there is no greater luck than a well drawing chimney in this period, when winter mists heavily settle in the chimney hole, and try to divert into the room the smoke of the iron stove. This interpretation of the luck-bringing chimney sweep is supported by the little book В защиту трубочиста, “In defense of the chimney sweep”, published in 1926 for the enlightenment of Soviet children, and whose main character is very similar to Vladimir Ilyich who died just two years earlier. I can only hope that this similarity was not noticed at that time.

Nikolai Yakovlevich Agnivtsev: In defense of the chimney sweep

A tale illustrated by Ivan Andreevich Malyutin.
Moscow: “Young Guard” publisher, 1926

Move the mouse over the verses for a [prosaic] translation

A well-drawing chimney, enough fuel under it and all the best around it – that’s what we wish to all our readers in this new year.

5 comentarios:

walter dijo...

I believe the Scots say "Lang may your lum reek". Best wishes.

Studiolum dijo...

Happy New Year, Walter! What does that mean? Scottish is one of the few languages I have no command of… ;)

languagehat dijo...

Lum is 'chimney,' so: "Long may your chimney smoke."

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks a lot, Language. I should have known who is the person who has the command of all the languages!

languagehat dijo...

You're welcome, and of course my best New Year wishes to you and your favorite chimney sweep!