Russian – English Comparison of “The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg”

Riaba The Hen


Russian Version

Once upon a time there lived an old woman and an old man. They were very poor, and often went hungry. One of their few earthly belongings was a hen which laid very few eggs. One day the hen laid a golden egg. The old man set it on the table and called his wife. They discussed what they should do with the egg. The old man thought that if they took it to the tsar they might be honored as nobles and given some land.

“But what good is it to be nobles if we have no finery?” the old woman asked. “We should take the egg instead to the market and fill our house with silks and porcelain.”

“But how can we prove to the king that we are not just merchants or thieves if we have sold the egg?” countered the old man. And the old couple began to argue. As they were arguing, a little mouse ran by and knocked the egg on the floor. As it hit the floor, it became an ordinary egg, and broke, leaving only a mess on the floor. The old couple was left with nothing. They were very sad. But the hen reassured them.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “I will provide you with an egg every day, and you will never go hungry.” And she did, and the couple lived their remaining years with a constant supply of eggs.

The moral of the story is that one shouldn’t rely on temporary riches, and should be happy with the little daily things that provide life. “Riches and land will come and go, and so will the tsar’s favor; so I’ll be content with an egg each day, and my family’s love for flavor

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg


English version

There once was a man who owned a wonderful goose. Every morning, the goose laid for him a big, beautiful egg — an egg made of pure, shiny, solid gold. Every morning, the man collected golden eggs. And little by little, egg by egg, he began to grow rich. But the man wanted more. “My goose has all those golden eggs insider her,” he kept thinking. “Why not get them all at once?” One day he couldn’t wait any longer. He grabbed the goose and killed her. But there were no eggs inside her! “Why did I do that?” the man cried! “Now there will be no more golden eggs.”


The need for immediate gratification many times leads to the loss of all.


7 thoughts on “Russian – English Comparison of “The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg”

  1. Interesting how the English version is so much more violent. So, I guess the Russian tales are more stoic, and English more aggressive. We Americans just take from the other countries, so our outlook is depending on which side of the egg lands upward. lol

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