Russia And Belarus : New Business Cultures by Dr. Mikhail Kolontay - HTML preview

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Story for grown-ups "GOLDIE"

Once upon a time there lived a family in a little village in a faraway land. There was a father, a mother and their little daughter that they loved with all their hearts. Because of her golden hair and the face of an angel, they lovingly called her Goldie.

"I'm so happy to have you, my goldie," her mother would say while she watched her daughter play with a doll on her parents' big bed.

They had a dog named Artamon, who lived in a wooden kennel in the courtyard. Artamon love the little girl, too, and when he saw her, he would wag his tail and whine gently for joy. In the house there lived a cat they called Fluff. He had no fear of Artamon, and spent his lazy days sleeping at the little girl's feet. He would coax a saucer of milk from the mother, too.

On a warm spring day in April, a large power station in the village had an accident. Hazardous, toxic air filled with radiation covered the village like a cap. Nobody told the people in the village there was danger from the contaminated air. All day long, Goldie played outdoors with her toys and Artamon. The father continued to go to work, while her mother spent her days in the garden.

Soon some unfamiliar people arrived in the village on busses. There was much confusion in the village. Goldie heard her parents discussing something seriously after the visit. Her mother came to tell Goldie the sad news.

"Goldie, we have to leave here, probably forever. You must say goodbye to your friends Artamon and Fluff," she told her daughter. Goldie was too young to understand it all, but she cried because she knew it was bad news and she didn't want to leave her friends.

All the people in the village boarded busses with few of their possessions. They began a long journey, first by bus, then by train, and finally by bus again. They stopped along the way and stayed in stranger's homes for a night. Finally, they arrived at their destination, a small village. It was like many villages in the country, populated by the old people in rundown houses and many empty ones. The people were told that this was the place where they would live now. And so, a new life began for Goldie and her parents.

When Goldie was six, she went to the local school where she learned to read, and write, and to count. When she was seven, her mother became seriously ill. She was pale, thin and sad all the time. She got tired very easily. She was unable to do the housework, and sat watching her daughter. "My Goldie" were the only words she spoke. On the eve of the New Year, Goldie wrote a letter to Santa Claus. "Dear Santa," she wrote. "Please help us make my mother well. Give my father a new coat if you can, because he dreams of one. For me, Santa, please give me a doll."

But Santa Claus never answered or granted the girl's wishes. On the second night of January, the mother died. The wind blew outside the little house. Goldie was so frightened. People came to the house and spoke in low voices for a time, and then they went away. The mother was buried in the village cemetery the next day.

Goldie whispered at her mother's grave, "Forgive me, Mummy. I sent my letter too late. Santa didn't get it in time."

Following her mother's death, Goldie's life became miserable. Her father became bad tempered, and would shout at her. He didn't work and began drinking occasionally at first, then more and more. They soon ran out of food and money. Goldie learned what it was to be cold and hungry. Sometimes kind neighbors would bring her warm soup. They would watch her eat greedily, and say, "Poor Goldie."

Neighbors and her teachers insisted that Goldie be transferred to a boarding school in a nearby city for her own welfare. This was a place for children without parents to live and go to school. Goldie liked it there. She liked to look through the window of the classroom at the clumsy busses, rattling trams and beautiful cars passing by.

Then, Goldie became ill. The doctors tested her and said she had a disease in her blood. The disease was caused by the accident that had happened at the power station past April where Goldie and her family had lived. She was sent to a municipal hospital for treatment.

"How did your mother used to call you?" a nurse asked her. The nurse, Nanny, loved all of her patients and they all loved her.

 

"Goldie," answered the little girl.

 

"What a nice name. Would you mind if I called you Goldie, too?" Nanny asked.

 

"No, I wouldn't mind," Goldie told her.

Nanny would sit deep into the night by Goldie's bed telling her about her own life. She had lost her parents at an early age because an evil ruler who reigned over the country had had them killed. "I have neither children nor family," she said sadly.

Goldie loved Nanny and Nanny became very attached to Goldie. She would always come to Goldie's first thing in the morning and ask, "How are you, my Goldie?"

"Good," answered the girl. Nanny told her about things that happened in the big city. She described broad avenues and streets lighted at night with thousands of lights. She spoke of elegant men and women, luxury cars, windows of expensive shops with beautiful things. She told of many festivals and street parades led by the city's mayor.

Sometimes Goldie would cradle herself at the window for hours looking out at the passing cars and remember the stories Nanny told her.

Once, a delegation of officials headed by the mayor visited the hospital. They walked through the wards asking questions of the doctors and nurses. They would take notes and shake their heads sadly. The mayor told his subordinates, "It is necessary to pass a resolution to bring more money to the city so there will be no poor and sick orphans." The mayor left the hospital, and the hospital continued as it had before. Plaster fell from the walls; squeaking beds kept breaking down, food in the cafeteria went from bad to worse, and portions kept getting smaller.

Winter came with snow drifts that reached the windows of the ground floor of the hospital. Healthy children sledded and threw snowballs.

 

"What would you like to have for Christmas, Goldie?" Nanny asked Goldie.

 

"I don't know," Goldie answered weakly. She looked as pale and fragile as a doll.

 

"And what did you like most of all when you lived with your mother?" Nanny asked.

"I liked to play with my doll my mother gave me when I was a little girl. I used to play with my doll on Mother's bed. My mother used to watch me play and tell me 'I'm so happy to have you, my Goldie.'"

Nanny's wages were too small to afford a doll she had seen in a beautiful shop. She had money saved for a rainy day, and decided she would use it to get the doll for Goldie. On Christmas morning, the sun was shining, but it was cold and frosty. When Nanny arrived at the hospital, Goldie was asleep. Sunlight reflected through Goldie's window over her golden hair scattered across the pillow. Nanny quietly went to the bed and carefully laid the doll beside the pillow. It was a doll with golden hair. As Nanny watched her, she realized Goldie wasn't breathing. Goldie was dead and Nanny wept. It seemed to Nanny that the eyes of the golden-haired doll sparkled with tears, too.

The big city continued its bustling life. Men and women drove around in their luxury cars. The windows of expensive shops displayed beautiful things. The Mayor arranged a huge parade and festival…

"Fetch the most precious thing that you can find in the city," said God to one of His angels as he watched the garish streets below.
The angel found the doll with the golden hair on the pillow of the lost little girl and took it to God.

"That's what I wanted," God said. "I want the little girl who died tonight to play with this doll in Paradise. I want to give her mother the gift of seeing her daughter again, and to say again as she once did, 'I'm so happy to have you, my Goldie.'"

God continued, "Sooner or later, this country will see a time when helping the poor, the sick, and the orphaned will be of vital importance. For a man will be honored for the things he gives, not for the things he is given."

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