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Children's Stories

© Yelena Yasen. A Dream. New York, 1994

Yelena Yasen






Edited by Jean Fiedler, the author of more than 20 books for children published by David McKay, Abelard-Schumann, Whitman Publishing, Western Publishing, Holiday House, and Hart Publishing Company.   Ms. Fiedler has also written an adult novel, Atone with Evil, published in 1976 by Bantam, and she co-authored The Science Fiction of Issac Asimov published by Frederick Unger.  Her children novel, The Year the World Was out of Step with Jancy Fried, was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


* * *


When Peggy and Dan arrived at the bus station, there was still an hour before his bus departure.  One more hour, and then her brother would wave at her for the last time and would be gone—God knows, for how long.  He was very upset when he came back to their room to pick up the luggage.

“What happened?” She tried not to cry. “I thought Mom finally accepted your moving out.”

“I wish she would.  Yesterday she was nice because Mr. Edwards was here. I should be grateful she didn’t spoil the last dinner with my teacher.”

“Did she say ‘Goodbye?’”

“Yes, after she repeated 100 times, how selfish I am and that all I care about is my painting.  Then she said ‘Goodbye’.” He looked around the room for the last time.

“Maybe we should go… you understand, I don’t want to be late.”

They stepped out to the porch and walked to the bus road.  The mountains were so clearly shaped in the morning light—it was as if someone had drawn huge curved lines across the entire sky.

“Remember how often you would draw the mountains—over and over again?  There won’t be any mountains for you in New York.” Peggy burst into tears. “What will I be doing here without you?”

“Come on, Peg, don’t do this to me.  After the last talk with Mom I feel as though your support is all I have.” All of a sudden his voice sounded ambivalent. “Maybe she’s right after all? I’m not sure…”

“What did you say?” Peggy could not talk for a while. “For the whole year all I heard was how much you wanted to be accepted by this art school.  And now you aren’t sure?  Than why are you going to the bus station at all—to get even with her?”

“How can you say that?” He stopped abruptly. “You know it’s not true.  I want to study in this school.  You read the letter.  You remember what they wrote.”

“Yes, they wrote you have talent, I remember.  Do you remember, they also wrote that at the end you will have to sell your stuff on your own?  Remember the story Mom read to us about those country artists who can’t even make a living on their works because they don’t know business, just like you?  Remember that?”

“Okay, listen…” He stopped again. “I will tell you something I never told you before.  But you have to promise… you won’t laugh.”

“What is it?”


“Okay, I promise.”

“I’m not sure, but somehow I’m sure…”

“What are you talking about?”

“Okay, well… A year ago I had… Remember, you promised!”

“Yes, yes, say it!”

“A year ago Mr. Edwards—you know how much he means to me. Right?”

“Right, Dan, for God sake, will you say it or not?”

“Mr. Edwards came to me in my dream.”

Peggy had never seen this kind of perplexed expression in Dan’s transparent grayish eyes.

“He showed me the folder with my drawings and said ‘Follow your call, help your mother,’ and left.”

“Jesus Christ!”

“That day I decided to send my works to the art school.  You know their reply.”

For a while she was looking at him, not saying a word.

“But Mom does not want you to go.  How can you help her by moving out?  Did you ask Mr. Edwards?”

“No!  It would be kind of weird.”

“You’re right,” Peggy started laughing.  “It’s kind of crazy.”

After that they didn’t talk until they came to the end of the road.  At the station Peggy stayed with the luggage near the ticket booth while Dan looked for the right gate.  He came back soon, and all they could do now was to wait for a moment of goodbye.  They both were trying to hold back their tears.

“Peg,” Dan took her hand. “I’m scared to death, but I still think I should do it. Somehow it feels right.”

“What about Mom?”

“Well…” Dan smiled suddenly. “Who knows; maybe soon I’ll have another dream… and it will give me the words for her, and I’ll write, and she will write back.”






About Yelena Yasen

Yelena Yasen (Елена Ясногородская): M.A. in Art History and Criticism from The Academy of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia. Work history includes: The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Brooklyn Museum, New York; New School for Social Research, New York. Presently: College Professor, Writer, Art Designer; an author of "Russian Children's Book Illustration or Another Chapter in the History of Russian Avant-Garde" (Institute of Modern Russian Culture, University of Southern California, Archive) and more than 30 published articles in Russian and English.


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