Since healing Meelo-Liza’s mother Saina had never been seen, and there were a lot of rumors about it. They say she now lived in the Valley of Ancestors. However, the granddad Piyun claimed that even his great-grandfather knew that only souls of the dead haunt that place, and no man, even being the wizard, would not be able to live there for more than three days. Only three days are given to a person to find his way back. However, birds and animals can safely live in the Valley of Ancestors.
At this time the mysterious events were happening in the surrounding woods. There was a talk of a huge spider in the forest, which terrorized all its inhabitants and brought fear into their hearts. And people even gave it a name: Driandafil. At the same time another miracle appeared in the woods. It was a bear, huge as a mountain. Piyun assured that one night it approached his home, settled near the gate and sat there until the morning. Other villagers saw it too. The bear got a nickname for its unusual size: people called it the Chunk.
It must be said that thought the Chunk did not disturb people, but it still left them frightened and trembling. Terror and uneasiness fell on the woods. One day on the eve of Ivan Kupala Night a disaster happened. Driandafil caught the Druid Village in its powerful web and threatened to destroy all its inhabitants the next morning! Angelina miraculously escaped the village and ran to the granny Martha. The granddad Piyun was also there. He came to learn about the fate of his son Sluyan. The girl told Martha of the tragedy happening to the Druids. Martha conjured in the kitchen for a long time; she twisted and turned some bundles of garlic and the bean seeds. Then she mixed some nuts and roots in a pot. And among other things there were roots of Criss-Cross! Granny left the kitchen all concerned and emotional. This is what Martha said:
«I have some clues about the origin of Driandafil and the Chunk, but I still need confirmation of it. But we must hurry now! Only Chunk has the force to destroy the web! But for this he must drink some bee milk! Piyun will do this. And you Angelina, you need to get to the forest and find there... »- Martha whispered in the girl's ear for a long time, so that no one but them knew about it. «You have to do this
before morning to save the Druid Village. We are short of time. Day comes from the darkness, horsefly comes from the grass! »- said Martha and went down to her witchcraft again. All through the day and all through the night the old Piyun had been gathering the bee milk and after all collected three small spoons. Angelina disappeared in the woods.
At dawn they met altogether and ran to the Crybaby River. At the place where the forest was closely approaching the river, was the trail which no man had walked on. This was the path by which the Chunk went to the water. Piyun set a bowl with raspberries covered with the bee milk by the path. Piyun and Angelina hid themselves in the nearby bushes. Soon they heard a crackling of trees and hissing, bushes were moved apart, and there appeared no one else but Driandafil! Angelina had already seen it one day, but still shrinked from fear. After seeing the spider the old Piyun was unable to find his tongue. Spider noticed the berries in the bowl, and tasted them. As soon as it swallowed a berry there came a loud unusual rumble from the depth of the forest. It was a huge swarm of wild bees! They rushed at the spider and swarmed around it. Driandafil desperately tried to defend itself but in vain. He was powerless against the clouds of nippy little bees. Finally, the spider stopped moving: it was paralyzed by the bee venom. As soon as the bees disappeared into the woods, dry twigs started to crackle again: it was the Chunk coming to the water! While drinking, the giant bear saw a bowl of berries, and ate them all greedily, and licked the bowl till it was shining! It roared menacingly, and rushed through the forest to the Druid Village.
Piyun and Angelina couldn’t keep up with the bear. When they approached the village, they saw that the web had turned into ashes, and the villagers stood in front of a pit in which the Chunk laid. But it appeared to be only the burned-out hide. Most unexpectedly a man was lying next to it! Piyun went down first, turned the man’s face to him, and he couldn’t believe his eyes! It was his son Sluyan! He mumbled: «Where am I…? What happened to me…? » Piyun uttered: «Everything is over! You just fell over and fainted, it’s all right now...» Angelina found her parents, and they went back to their homes, and Piyun with his son went to their village. Sluyan already felt as if it were only yesterday that he left the house for hunting! Passing near the trail they saw the remains of Driandafil: a shell and pincers. After looking more attentively Sluyan pointed his father to a fresh track. The obviously woman’s footprints were leading from the spider’s shell into the woods; where Saina’s house was situated…
The next day the Druid Village and all the surrounding villages had a double celebration. At first, it was the holiday of Ivan Kupala. Secondly, people learned that there were neither Driandafil, nor the Chunk in their forests! Only granny Martha was very concerned about something. It seemed that she had unraveled the mystery of female footprints on watering path of the bear!
© Copyright: Konstantin Dmitriev, 2008
Translated into English: Maria Lyukish, 2012