The train waited for the last signal before its departure. Malvina and Alex had stuck their little faces onto the window watching their classmates laughing at the platform. Their friends were calling, shouting something, but no sound reached the passenger compartment.
– Please all passengers to take their seats, the train to Vladivostok kicks off in five minutes – the conductor announced through the train radio.
Malvina and Alex pressed their little faces even harder to the window, their noses flattened; the window-glass went off. Malvina waved for a goodbye to her buddies, and Alex drew with a finger on the damp window a bear waving goodbye with its paw.
The train departed. The children on the platform waved their hands, they shouted, and Malvina and Alex continued to look at them like in a “Silent” cinema.
The ‘Golden Eagle’ rattled the iron rails and gradually began to speed up.
– Look, Alex, our friends, are already in the distance like little dolls, and the big church with the color domes as a beautiful toy – Malvina spoke enthusiastically.
– Yes -Alex replied – look, now they cannot be even seen, they turned into snowflakes, everything is white…
The train was already racing, the view in front of the window changed: beautiful towns, villages, deserted places, different forest trees, rivers, lakes.
Seven days and seven nights travelled the little twins, the stations changed one after the other, and the train conductor allowed them walks at and around each stop as soon as the train stops.
– Do not be late, be punctual and do not split up! I am waiting for you!
This was the sixth warning.
– And do not forget that the ‘Golden Eagle’ is not only a Transsiberian train, but it also has eyes of an eagle and watches its passengers – the conductor cautiously warned them.
The children nodded and approached the open door of the train jumped to the platform. They walked, but the feeling that they were traveling did not leave them. So, once they reached the river in the centre of Irkutsk city, they read a logo: “The Angara River, which flows into Lake Baikal.”
Malvina’s face shone:
– Alex, we are near Lake Baikal.
Alex had looked at a camel image on a high wall and read aloud:
– A Caravan from Siberia to China.
– Yes – said a strange voice -my longest journey as if I was walking to the Moon and back.
Alex and Malvina saw a smiling, friendly girl with black braids, a big fluffy hat, a backpack, and ski equipment.
The girl took off on the skis, and Alex and Malvina couldn’t even answer.
They made their way to the railroad and panted, wading in snow, they reached the last wagon, and it was almost in front of them the angry face of the conductor who pulled Alex to himself and Malvina hid behind her brother’s back.
Their red faces, frozen by the cold, began to warm themselves up, the children tapped their feet, the snow was dripping from their boots, they headed for their coupe.
Malvina snuggled on the sofa. Alex looked across the window of the newly-emerging train. The trees are changing rocks, tunnels, other trees… Alex painted quickly, his eyes seeming to seal each painting, and his hand was moving intact with the rattling of the Trans siberian train…
The little artist fell asleep with a pencil in his hand.
A gentle knock on the door made the twins jump.
– Children, it’s time for breakfast… Very soon the train will stop for more extended stays at Baikal Station- said the conductor.
Alex and Malvina were running down the corridors, talking when they suddenly saw the girl with the black braids.
They sat down at a table by the window, and the strange girl approached them:
– Hello, can I sit with you?
– Yes – the twins said happily.
The girl bowed, sat down and waited for them first to start their breakfast. Then she took a cheese pie and jam and began to eat. Only the rattle of the train could be heard, and three pairs of eyes were staring curiously, staring at the window. When the little hungry children finished with their breakfast and were already full, Malvina smiled:
– I’m Malvina, and this is my brother Alex.
– I’m Lunaroza, and I’m from Chukotka region – said the girl.
– Lunaroza – whispered Malvina – what a beautiful name.
– And so is yours, Malvina, it is like a princess’s name from fairy tales – replied the little resident of Chukotka.
The ‘Golden Eagle’ began to slow down, then accelerated slightly, suddenly it became dark, went into a tunnel and then again they went out to light, the three children stuck to the window.
An incredible view was revealed before their eyes – a huge ice playground on which someone seemed to have painted white circles with chalk.
– It’s the lake; I can recognize it even in the winter – said exited Lunaroza.
The train stopped, the children grabbed their winter skates, dressed thick furs, hats, gloves, scarves, and ran to the door.
– Come with me; we’ll ride a dog-drawn sled -Their new friend told them.
The dog carriage was drifting down the ice, and modern ice- adjusted cars passed by, people with skates, sleds drove by deer. Suddenly the white circles on the ice disappeared, Malvina and Alex leaned forward they stared at the transparent icy lake. The Musher (the man who is riding the dog sled) slowed down, and dogs started barking.
– Let’s go skating here – Lunaroza said passionately.
Malvina put on the skates and first jumped out of the sled, followed by Alex and Lunaroza.
– Lunaroza, the lake surface is transparent, I saw something moving under the water – and as Malvina spoke to them, the three of them bent down and saw the deep black eyes of an animal!
– Those are the black eyes of the Baikal seal, so black and deep as deep as the lake -said Lunaroza.
The seal swivelled twice, looking curiously through the glass curtain and put its muzzle on the ice surface. At this very moment were several other seals who joined.
It was an unusual sight, the sun was shining, and the lake was icy.
– Malvina, give me your golden hairclip – Alex said to his sister.
Malvina pulled the hair clip out of her hair under the hat and gave it to Alex.
Alex directed the golden hair clip toward the seals, but so the sun’s intense rays would be attracted on it. As a golden ball, the sun was reflected on the ice, and the seals got a golden color. They started dancing, and their eyes swallowed up the light, and their eyes color were getting up deeper.
The children could not take their faces off the ice until they heard the bark of the dogs, and Alex dropped the hair clip from his hand. Gradually the light on the ice vanished, the seals started to ‘wave’ goodbye.
Malvina bent down, grabbed the hairclip and sped on the ice, made her favourite pirouette, pulled the little Chukotka girl towards herself and both span with joy.
Tired of the long walk, the three of them fell asleep in the warm coupe, and the ‘Golden Eagle’ flew to the latter station – Vladivostok. Malvina jumped, her huge black eyes peering out at Lunaroza, who first spoke:
– I fell asleep here and dreamed my sweetest dream of flying saddled real eagle, covered with gold.
– Welcome to Vladivostok – The radio train announced.
The children jumped off the train, waving farewell to the conductor.
– My lions – was the soft voice of twin’s mother and children flew in the air lifted from their father’s strong hands.
Malvina and Alex shouted with joy:
– Mom, Mom, Dad!
Lunaroza watched them as an old man approached her. The man had black eyes, a tanned face, and a white beard. It was her wonderful grandfather. Lunaroza bowed and grabbed her grandfather’s hand.
– Lunaroza -Malvina shouted, and ran towards her, to give her the golden hairclip as a token of their friendship- We will call it ‘The Golden Seal.’
Lunaroza embraced her girlfriend and replied:
– When the winter passes, with my grandfather we’ll take you to the blue pearl of Siberia, wait for us.
-Yes, yes –exclaimed the twins.
The next morning Alex and Malvina told their parents about the fairy-tale trip. At this moment their pet friend Tiger shrugged and smirked. The Siberian cat was missing his young masters and did not separate from them.
Long sleds, games in the Siberian steppes, hunting with local hunters, watching the sunrise and of the sunset, alternating the days with nights, the nights with days. The snow has melted, trees grew green, Tiger was running under the sun in the big yard, and Malvina and Alex were swinging.
– Alex, I’m reaching the sky, see how high I’m swinging- the warm, tender voice of Malvina was spreading.
The race in the swing was in high gear when a familiar voice was heard:
– Malvina, Alex – get out of the cradle, we could fly higher.
The children recognized the voice of their Chukotka friend and Tiger leaped around them.
Malvina and Alex rushed to Lunaroza and were racing to hug her.
Lunaroza’s face shone, turning to her grandfather, who was talking to the twin’s parents. The old man was making sure that they would agree to take the children for a little adventure with his helicopter.
– Grandpa, let’s go.
The children joined the old man, turned and waved their parents.
– By tonight, Mom, Daddy – shouted the children and they noticed Tiger (the cat) followed them.
The helicopter rose sharply.
– Now, we got to the sky – Alex said to his sister.
They were flying over the Siberian taiga covered in forests by coniferous trees and pine-like trees.
– What are these forests? – Alex pointed out to the pines.
– These are black spruce forests – replied Lunaroza’s grandfather who oversaw the helicopter.
Gradually lowered and the children managed to see animals, bears, deer…
The helicopter began to rise again and approached the Asian steppes, in which there was almost no vegetation, but they could see deer, antelope, and whole flocks fly mosquitoes. The helicopter made a slight bend over an island and began to decrease.
The young passengers took off one by one when the grandfather- pilot said to them:
– You have four hours for a walk and wait for me before sunset here so to fly back in the light.
The children hurried to the lake. The lake was calm and smooth, like a huge blue mirror. Alex and Malvina looked themselves at the lake’s surface and saw the reflection of their faces in blue-color.
Lunaroza approached her friends and asked:
– Do you want to climb on the little island opposite, from where the lake is like a small blue pearl?
The children were walking, and Tiger followed them. They have reached the hill and began to climb following the rapid pace of the little Chukotka who was tireless.
– Look here, look down and do not move. Look back in the blue water – Lunaroza said.
Tiger began to purr, to turn his tail and to look around, sensing that something would happen, began to walk around Alex, then around Malvina. A flying gull with pink feathers attracted Malvina’s gaze.
– See what a beautiful gull- Malvina pointed out the flying beauty.
– This is my girlfriend, ‘Rosalie the rose gull’ – said the Chukotka girl- Rosalie always finds me when I’m on this hill.
There was a mew whisper; Tiger began to wiggle and chase Rosalie, who was landing and flying, landing and flying repeatedly.
The seagull flew high above the Lake, and the Tiger again began to sneeze at the feet of his owners Malvina and Alex.
Lunaroza looked at the Rose Bird, closed her eyes and said something on a Chukotka language, incomprehensible to Alex and Malvina.
There was a silence in which only a slight purr was heard from Tiger, the Siberian cat. The gull fell and landed on Lunaroza’s shoulder.
The water in the lake began to rise like a volcano in the air and began to spin. In front of the young observers, the water-lake became a huge blue globe.
The children were perplexed at how the lake turned in a beautiful blue ball.
The Tiger eyes changed their color; they turned dark and light green.
Lunaroza stroked the tender feathers of Rosalie, then the bird took off and began to circle the blue waterfall.
– Lunaroza, what is this splendid magic – said the shivering Malvina.
– I was born when there was a lunar eclipse in this hill. At the time the hill was a pink hill, sunk into beautiful roses. Then I was given the name Lunaroza with the loud wish to keep the beauty of our planet safe. I have shown you the planet through my eyes, through my heart, and through the rhythm of the magic blue pearl – the Blue Lake.
– I knew your name was magical – Malvina said.
– Magic – Alex repeated.
– This Pink Gull- continued Lunaroza – was born here, her ancestors lived here millions of years ago so to keep the Lake safe.
Alex grabbed Tiger in his arms and spoke to him:
– I will draw our Planet, as I have seen it here… – but his voice was muffled by the approaching flock pink gulls that grabbed and encircled the beautiful blue ball.
Tiger got scared and tried to free himself from Alex’s hands – the cat gasped and followed scratching then jumped to the ground and started to spin and move his tail.
The animal felt the approaching storm. Strong winds lifted the children from the ground and carried them into the air. The kids were flying with a flock of pink gulls, circling the blue planet.
Before their eyes were rivers, seas, oceans, countries, continents, the sun, moon, day, night – that was planet Earth and its companions.
Malvina started to touch the planet with her free hand, but the beak of a pink gull from the flock pushed her small hand.
It was the Earth globe with its entire splendour!
Pink gulls began to fly off.
Her girlfriend gull Rosalie accompanied Lunaroza. When Lunaroza touched the gull, the children landed where the cat was waiting for them.
Malvina and Alex went home tired, hungry. Their eyes still gave away the memory of the experience. Malvina was blinking with her long black eyelashes as if she were opening and closing the curtain to the big blue globe.
Alex sat down on his little chair, set a large sheet of paper on the tripod and started painting, surrounded by their parents and Malvina. His hand moved quickly; the paints were changing; the colours were overflowing. The silence continued… The painting was completed with the words of the little artist:
– This is our Planet, through my eyes, through my heart…
Malvina kissed her brother, realizing she had seen the planet with her brother’s eyes; she had the same eyes and the same heart.