Cvetik-Semicvetik (The Flower With Seven Colours)

Cvetik-Semicvetik, pharmacy or “the flower with seven colors, decease ” is a beloved tale from the USSR. There are many different illustrated versions out there, but perhaps the most trippy one comes from the mind of Russian artist Benjamin Losin. Losin apparently illustrated two different versions of this book, both of which are included here.

The story, lots more lush illustrations, plus a 1948 cartoon version of the tale, after the cut!

Once upon a time, a girl named Zhenya went out to buy some bagels. While  she was distracted, a stray dog ate the bagels as she was carrying them:

Crying, Zhenya chases the dog, and ends up in a mysterious enchanted garden:

There, an old woman consoles her by giving her a flower with seven different-colored petals. She tells Zhenya that this flower grants her seven wishes, and that every time she wants to make a wish, she just has to rip off a petal and recite an incantation.

Zhenya rips off a petal, wishing for the bagels that the dog ate to be restored. And lo and behold, they are! For the duration of the story, Zhenya wastes the petals on frivolous wishes. She wishes for a glass vase to be restored after she breaks it. When a couple of boys exclude her from their game of pretend-North Pole, she wishes to go to the actual North Pole, only to freeze promptly and wish to return home.

After another girl refuses to let Zhenya play with her doll, Zhenya wishes for all the toys in all the stores. With this wish, toys become sentient and begin stalking her. Toys climb over buildings, break down doors, and fly through the sky toward her. Terrified as the mountain of toys threatens to overtake her, Zhenya tears off another petal, wishing for all the toys to return to the stores from which they escaped.

Finally, Zhenya encounters a boy with a bad leg. She wishes for the petal to heal him so that they can run around together. It turns out to be the most fulfilling wish of all, as she gains a real friend. THE END. Awww!

Larger images from the series here. Below, the cartoon version.


6 Responses to “Cvetik-Semicvetik (The Flower With Seven Colours)”

  1. John Coulthart Says:

    In a similar vein, there’s Babochka (Butterfly), an animation by Andrey Khrzhanovskiy:

  2. Russian Illustrated “Bluebeard” – Y’Know, For Kids! | Null Entropy Says:

    […] just so that you don’t think Russian children’s books are all sunshine and rainbows, here’s an illustrated version of the French tale Bluebeard from the Soviet era. For all the full […]

  3. Alysa Says:

    Not particularly relevant, but this reminds me: I recently discovered the Soviet version of Винни-Пух (Winnie the Pooh)! Which does not look anything like the Pooh with which we Westerners are familiar…

  4. the flower with seven colours (cvetik-semicvetik) | fleurmach Says:

    […] Cvetik-Semicvetik (The Flower With Seven Colours) […]

  5. Khalid Khan Says:

    I had this book when I was kid. It was about 35 years ago. I used to tell this story to my nephew and niece. Now I tell the same to my two daughters. I wonder if would have found my book again. Now I am amazed at least found it in the net.

    Time really flies.

  6. Lily Says:

    I was trying very hard to recall this book which I had when I was a young girl, almost 38 years ago. All I remembered was a rainbow colored flower and bagel. I typed them in google search, not expecting to find anything. It is such a pleasant surprise to see it again in your blog. Thank you so much for including the illustrations.