1. Peter the Wolf

From the recording A Child's Bestiary


Peter the Wolf. Once upon a time in Russia... 1 Peter awoke from the nightmare with the taste of blood still in his mouth. He could remember fleeting images: the silver moon hanging in the darkened sky, the pale light illuminating the forest with an unworldly glow, and thick summer air, hot and stifling around him. 2 Peter sat up, and the nightmare continued. As he looked around his cottage, he could remember the shrill sounds of screaming birds. Could birds scream? As his memories grew more vivid, Peter remembered them screaming. 3 He could remember drinking with his friend Utkin. Last night, he remembered a look of terror in his eyes, and his mouth contorting into another silent scream. Odd that he remembered Utkin’s screaming silently, but not the birds. He idly tried to remember where Utkin went after he started screaming… 4 As he looked around the cottage, with debris and destruction littering the small room, he tried to banish the images of sheer terror returning to the edge of consciousness, like a recalled echo, telling himself that he and Utkin must have drank enough for their ancestors last night. Peter got out of bed, and the nightmare continued. He remembered the tiger. 5 The great siberian tiger slunk out of the forests, and towards the cottage where Peter lived alone with his grandfather. Grandfather was a mighty hunter. Peter remembered not understanding why Grandfather didn’t lift his heavy rifle from above the mantle and come for the mighty cat as he had so many times before. 6 Peter noticed the rifle wasn’t above the mantle. Nor did he see grandfather in the ransacked cottage. Grandfather’s bed was unmade, his boots gone, his chair empty. Peter remembered the heat of the tiger’s breath. Peter remembered the sharp claws going for his throat. Peter remembered swatting them away as playful as a kitten, laughing at the tiger’s frantic attacks and roars as if it were a game. Peter remembered snapping the tiger’s spine, and wondering why the tiger was so delicate. It was then Peter remembered the taste of blood in his mouth. He wondered how it got there. 7 He padded to the door of the cottage and opened the gate, shaking the rest of his sleep away from his eyes. In the light of dawn, he saw what was left of Grandfather and Utkin, their blood and bodies staining the grass, torn into shreds by the predator. Peter found his friend and his Grandfather, and the nightmare went on and on and on…