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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Arkady Gaidar, Timur and His Squad

the story of Timur and his Timurovtsy
(illustration by Mazurin)
no copyright infringement intended

As a kid I had in plan to read sometime Timur and His Squad, the story written by Arkady Gaidar: it enjoyed a certain fame among us, boys and girls in the primary school. Of course, I wanted to read the Romanian translation, my Russian knowledge was by that time less than poor. We started to learn Russian in school in the fourth grade. In that epoch (the 1950's) the study of Russian was mandatory in our schools, so we were treating Russian with the same casual indifference as any other mandatory discipline (I must confess: guilty!). But at least I was told a lot about Arkady Gaidar and about his books.

Well, I didn't read any of Gaidar's books, so it went. After many years, I was already in my late thirties, I realized that though I had forgotten all the bits of Russian that I had learned in school, there was something like a background in me (the same happened with German, other language that they kept on trying to teach me as a kid). And I became curious about these two tongues. I started to learn again Russian and German, more or less systematically. After some time I tried to read something in original, and I realized that the stories of Arkady Gaidar were very easy to read (also Ilf and Petrov, also, that's what I think, Chekhov). I read one of Gaidar's, not Timur and His Squad, maybe Chuk and Gek, but I wouldn't be now hundred percent positive.

Timur ja tema meeskond
(Timur and His Squad, Estonian translation)
no copyright infringement intended

And then English took its huge toll on me. For years I was forced to understand when other people around me were speaking English (and only English, and very fast), and to make me understood by the same people. This came with a price, that I paid by forgetting German and Russian. Better said, not forgetting, rather getting blocked anytime I tried to say something in German or Russian: the English sentence was coming immediately on my tongue, pushing away everything else.

Timur şi băieţii lui
(Timur and His Squad, Romanian translation)
no copyright infringement intended

Good, that's already history (старая история so to speak, or even alte Geschichte). A couple of days ago I was telling all this stuff to a friend (on Facebook) and he gave me two web links: one for a pdf English translation of Timur and His Squad, and the second for the movie based on it from 1940 (there was also a second adaptation, in 1976).

This is the book:

And this is the 1940 movie (subtitled in German):

Okay, you need a little presentation of the book! Here you go: the story of a gang of village kids who sneak around secretly doing good deeds, protecting families whose fathers and husbands are in the Red Army (and every father and husband seemed to be serving in the military those times), and doing battle against the rival gang of the bad boys (who were doing nasty things like stealing apples from old people, that kind of stuff) (wiki).

And my friend gave me also a link to the Russian text:




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