It was the day before Christmas. Masha and her mother were about to go
to the fair. Since the morning Masha had a feeling that today she was
going to experience something… extraordinary. The Christmas
market overwhelmed her with its busy rustle, fragrant spices and jolly
laughter. All of a sudden, in the middle of the road where from time to
time beautiful carriages swooshed by, Masha saw something in the snow.
It was a puppet or a toy, but somehow looked as though it were alive.
Her body turned numb: a carriage with tree horses was racing directly
towards the toy. Following some magic call, Masha obediently rushed to
the road and grabbed the toy just before it would have been trampled.
Beside herself with excitement, she finally had a chance to have a
closer look at what she was holding. It was a little gnome dressed in
green boots, a blue jacket and a red cap. Masha pressed the toy to her
chest tightly… and suddenly she saw, right in front of her,
a dazzling-bright shop window with a glowing sign: “Magic
The shop window was full of amazing toys, and they appeared as if they
were real. They smiled and bowed to Masha. At the entrance door stood a
man in a black cloak and a hat tipped down over his brow. He must have
been the shop owner. He invited Masha to come inside.
And unexpectedly her mother appeared. She had been looking for Masha
and was very worried. The girl wanted to show her Mom this wonder, the
Magic Shop, but it had disappeared… and the Christmas fair
whirled around with renewed vigour!
2. Christmas Eve
In the evening Masha was alone in her room. She arranged all her toys
in couples on the floor pretending they were dancing at a ball. The
whole day she kept hold of the little gnome and now, holding it tightly
in her arms, she danced with it and was the true princess of this toy
3. Little Gnomes
Masha didn’t remember how she fell asleep on the floor among
the toys. She couldn’t say how long she had been asleep when
she was awakened by a quiet chime. Candles gleamed everywhere, and
little gnomes were dancing in the middle of the room. Masha could even
count them – there were exactly twelve dancing as numbers on
a clock, each representing an hour. At the end of their caps were tiny
bells – this is where this gentle jingling had come from!
4. Pathway to the Magic Shop
One of the gnomes approached her and took a bow. Masha recognized the
gnome she had saved on the street – only now it was not a
toy! Suddenly, the window opened quietly and moonlight filled the room.
The little gnomes took the girl by the hand and walked along the
moonbeam path… Masha did not recognize her street!
Everything seemed unfamiliar. Although it was winter, she
didn’t feel cold. Being with the little gnomes, she realized
she had nothing to fear and that they wanted to let her in on an
amazing and magic secret.
When they finally arrived, Masha immediately recognized the shop she
had seen at the fair. The door was open, and Masha could hear noise,
jolly laughter and the tuning of a big orchestra from inside. When she
walked in, she was even more surprised to see a huge, bright, spacious
room with beautiful columns and fountains even though from the outside
it looked like a small shop. Indeed, there was a big orchestra on the
balcony. The conductor bowed courteously to the Host standing in the
middle of the room and everybody around him took a few steps back.
There were many guests in marvellous costumes and masks. They politely
clapped welcoming Masha to the ball.
5. Opening Fanfare
The Host announced that they are very pleased to have Masha as a guest
of honour, because she had saved one of the little gnomes who, as
gnomes often do, had been travelling along the paths of time when it
got lost and turned into a toy. The Host signalled and Masha was
immediately seated in a big soft chair. The fanfare sounded and the
6. Shepherd Boys
Masha was first greeted by the shepherd boys. They danced with such
grace and elegance! While they were dancing, the color of their
costumes changed along with the music.
7. Malvina & Piero
When at the end of their performance the shepherd boys completely
dissolved into thin air, the squirrelly coquette Malvina and a very sad
Piero appeared in the middle of the room. One could read on his pale
face that he was rather in love with his own sorrows, and not Malvina.
8. The Sheriff
Malvina and Piero yielded the floor to the valiant sheriff wearing a
cowboy hat, banging the spurs on the heels of his boots and shooting
his pistols. Accompanying him were his cowboy friends, slightly
intoxicated. They were jumping over each other, turning somersaults,
standing on their heads, shooting at empty bottles as if it were in a
9. Little Cooks
The next performance was even funnier! Several happy little cooks
appeared in the middle of the room carrying a huge pot where something
was bubbling and gurgling. They were followed by a fat chef who was
giving short instructions while continuously chewing on
All of a sudden, a fluffy little chicken popped up out of the pot and
started dancing together with the cooks.
The spotlight shot over to a beautiful couple – a lady in a
dazzling-white dress and her gentleman in a black tuxedo. With the
swift motion of the conductor’s baton, the orchestra revved a
Masha was deeply amazed and overwhelmed with joy. She had never seen
anything like this before. There were so many miracles, lights and so
much music! Every performance was so unique and extraordinary that it
took her breath away! Impressions overwhelmed her and she felt as
though her heart would now jump out of her chest and burst into a
11. Matryoshka Dolls
The lights dimmed slowly, everybody became quiet, and matryoshka dolls
elegantly glided into the room.
12. The Minstrel
This tranquil mood was carried on by an anonymous minstrel. He was very
sad and his purple dress made his face look even paler.
The appearance of Latin-American dancers brought out a particular
excitement and general enthusiasm. Multicolored costumes, skilled and
confident moves, unbelievable mimics and gestures, the music splashing
with joy – all this reinvigorated the evening.
14. The Star Gazer
“You do not know from the bird’s song, how much it
has yet to live…
There’s nobody on the road this late autumn
This is what the star gazing poet was singing about. His song was not
emotional on the surface, but had a sea of spiritual concentration,
calmness, as if everybody’s eyes turned inside.
15. The Wizard
Now Masha was nervous. The Host was distant and terse. When he came
closer, his smile barely recognizable at the corner of his lips, Masha
got the shivers. During his fantastic performance, it became clear that
he – the Host – is not only a wizard, but that he
is the great commander of all kingdoms on earth. He was constantly
changing faces, but the scariest moment was when he suddenly began to
grow, the ceiling disappeared, and the wizard rose to the clouds.
16. Closing Fanfare
When Masha came back to her senses, the room was still full of guests,
dazzling lights, noise and laughter. The Host was holding her hand as
if saying, “Calm down, there’s nothing more to
fear”. He waved his hand, the fanfare blared and all the
performers of this magic ball appeared for the final dance.
18. The Organ Grinder
Everything vanished with the last chord. It was early Christmas
morning. Masha found herself alone on the market square, under a big
beautifully decorated fir tree. The town was waking up. Here and there
lonely strangers went by muffling their hands and noses from the
falling snow. Masha heard the sound of a hand organ near by. Glancing
at the organ-grinder, she saw familiar features in his face. That was
him – the Wizard of the “Magic Shop”!
Engulfed by a great wave of sorrow, Masha felt a sudden pain in her
heart. She was terribly sorry that everything had ended so soon and
would not come back again. She had nobody she could tell about it and
nobody who would believe her. She felt so lonely and quietly started to
The sun was high. The snow sparkled under its light. Only now Masha
noticed that she was holding the little magic gnome. He was a toy
again, and only his tiny eyes kindly and joyfully looked at the girl.
Soon she felt as if her eyes were covered with a silver veil, as though
light clouds of fog wallowed up and absorbed the whole town…
the organ-grinder… the Christmas tree…
herself… Somewhere something babbled, rustled and prattled,
strange sounds dissolved in the distance. The heaving waves carried
Masha higher and higher… higher and higher…
higher and higher…