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A very special part of Mandrogi is separated from the rest of the village by the river, making it unusually quiet. Take a few steps along the ferry boardwalk, pull open the creaky birchwood gate, and you will find yourself in deepest forest, on the Fairytale Path, where the poetry of Alexander Pushkin mingles with folk stories. As Pushkin wrote: “Here is Russia’s spirit…Russian scent!”

On seashore far a green oak towers,
And to it with a gold chain bound,
A learned cat whiles away the hours
By walking slowly round and round.
To right he walks, and sings a ditty;
To left he walks, and tells a tale…
What marvels there! A mermaid sitting
High in a tree, a sprite, a trail
Where unknown beasts move never seen by
Man’s eyes, a hut on chicken feet,
Without a door, without a window,
An evil witch’s lone retreat;
The woods and valleys there are teeming
With strange things… Dawn brings waves
That, gleaming,
Over the sandy beaches creep,
And from the clear and shining water
Step thirty goodly knights escorted
By their Old Guardian, of the deep
An ancient dweller… there a dreaded
And hated tsar is captive ta’en;
There, as all watch, for cloud banks headed,
Across the sea and o’er a plain,
A warlock bears a knight.
A princess sits locked in a cell;
And Grey Wolf serves her very well;
There, in a mortar, onward sweeping
All of itself, beneath the skies
The wicked Baba-Yaga flies;
There pines Koshchei and lusts for gold…
All breathes of Russ of old!
There once was I, friends, and the cat,
As near him ‘neath the oak I sat
And drank of sweet mead at my leisure,
Recounted tales to me… with pleasure
One that I liked do I recall
And here and now will share with all…

A.S. Pushkin

The village has a special place for our animal friends. A key component of the village’s economy are the animals: the quail farm, the rabbit farm, cows, domesticated goats, geese and ducks. Other residents include several baby moose recuperating after accidents, a hawk with a broken wing, a learned crow, foxes, hares and many other forest-dwellers.