© Author Leonid Kaganov, original russian text here
© Translated by crimeanelf

The Day of Xenia Preobrazhennaya1

Xenia was a modest young lady who grew up in a small wooden outbuilding near an old castle. The outbuilding was full of exotic objects which Xenia loved to pore over in the first four years of her life. The girl's mother was a Polish princess who trained her daughter to be hard working and well-organized from childhood. While the father was at work, the women dusted the curtains, souvenirs and figurines from dawn to dusk, arranging them prettier and prettier every time. Xenia's father, like many of his ancestors, was a medieval general and frequently brought home new armor, engravings, fabrics and even kitchenware.

In the days when one could walk through the outbuilding without stepping on anything, Xenia's family considered the house to be in order. When one could walk through the outbuilding without stepping on anything too important, it meant that house needed cleaning. And in the days when one simply could not walk through the outbuilding at all, the father beat up the mother with a towel and the mother whipped the daughter with stinging nettle.

It went on this way until the day Xenia turned sixty-six. That night an angel made an appearance to her in a dream, dressed only with feathers. The angel blew his horn thrice, threw it away and exclaimed, Throw everything that has never been used for love out of the house!

Xenia left the outbuilding that same night still wearing her white night gown and started giving away her family's belongings to poor. These included rugs, armor, bowls, gloves and mementos her father got from friends and colleagues for birthdays and anniversaries. Everything that the poor and beggars refused to take, Xenia carried to the town dump without remorse.

Her parents woke up from the noise and were horrified at first, but Xenia firmly told them about the angel's voice. The old man and woman accepted the angel's order and joined in the work. In three days the only things left in the outbuilding were beds, a lamp and a few pots. Than the family carried on to the family castle. They carried away everything: old towels, rugs from overseas, chests of drawers, cans of bolts and nuts, ski boots, prints, magazines, cans of lime and sacks of dried cranberries. In just a month one could walk through the castle till the farthermost rooms. And in half year Xenia and her old parents started living in these rooms themselves, having demolished the hateful outbuilding and laid out a beautiful gold field on its place. Xenia soon got married to a Greek prince and lived till a hundred and thirty two, spending the rest of her days enjoying life, going to balls and entertainment events, playing golf and horseback riding.

Xenia Preobrazhennaya's day is celebrated annually at any convenient date, without waiting for an appearance of an angel. On this day, people traditionally throw away things which hasn't been used in the last year for sex or merely for keeping the body healthy. The celebration is supposed to begin with throwing away clothes which weren't worn in a year, and end by washing floors, especially the spots freed from the old furniture. This day is considered to be a family holiday, and for a good reason, but you are also allowed to send greetings to friends and neighbors. However, one should not give gifts of souvenirs and mementos, such as postcards, mugs, statuettes or keychains with Xenia's portrait. Have a good holiday!

July 18th, 2004, Moscow

 


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