the flower of seven colours

Cvetik Semicvetik (Flower of Seven Colours) is a beautiful Soviet children’s animation from 1948, based on a beloved folk tale about a little girl who receives a magic flower with seven free wishes from an old crone. None of her wishes leads to happiness, until the last wish, which she doesn’t use for herself, but for someone else. By making someone else happy, she is made happy too.

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.

I found these illustrations and information on coilhouse.net.

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-coloured 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.

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