Vladimir Vysotsky. In a Faraway Kingdom.

An Unusual Fable.Adapted from George Tokarev’s translation by Akbar Muhammad.

There, reigning o’er his nation,
Lived a king once on a time.
Treason, fraud and degradation
Were the kernel of his style.

Royal troops had no fightings, no drills,
Since the king was often greasing his gills.

With the queen he made a row,
Kicked his daughter’s bridegrooms out,

While his son got pick-pocketing skills.

As it goes in the fable
(Fables always say what’s true),
There lived his friend and neighbor
In his kingdom number two.

All his subjects were humble and meek,
Since the king had and held too much cheek.

Full of ardor and ambition,
He destroyed his opposition,

And longed for doing something unique.

Next to these two kings of honor,
Always ready for a brawl,
There lived another monarch,
Who was really brimmed with gall.

He was brutal, that son of a gun,
Caused offense to his neighbors for fun.

He would send them dirty letters,
Interfere with their matters,

Loved grave scandals and did ask for a one.

Craving land that brute decided,
For this gain, the war to wage.
His aggression was one-sided —
And his neighbors were enraged.

They got ready to go to war,
But the first king had no arms in store,

And the captains of the second
Made the kingdom’s soil too fecund,

As the vassals were faithful no more...

1969.

Main Page.