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Kuzya the House Elf
Домовёнок Кузя
Domovyonok Kuzya (ru)


A series of four short puppet-animated films starring a little domovoy named Kuzya (formal name "Kuzma", pet name "Kuzenka").

A domovoy, or house-elf (or "nis" or "downie") is a magical little being bound to a house that combines making mischief with taking care of a house. Although present in the folklore of several countries, the traditional belief in such a being is strongly present in East Slavic cultures.

The story has a somewhat peculiar history. The writer began writing the tale in the fall of 1972. She had been a guest at the estate of the artist Vasiliy Polenov where it was a tradition on October 8 to celebrate the birthday of the estate's house-elf Kuzya, which gave Aleksandrova the idea for the tale. It was published in 1977. After some time she wrote 2 more tales about Kuzya, making it a trilogy, but they were never published during her lifetime. She had made drawings to the tales which became concept art for the animation series, but they weren't allowed to be published in the book, because she had no diploma as an artist (she had only taken some animation courses). The author died young, in 1983. Her husband at the same time was asked to write a script on the basis of the first book called Kuzya in a New Apartment. It was meant to be a one-time animation, but because of its success, it was decided to make a sequel. In the book, Kuzya tells Natasha memories from her past, but they were left out in the script for the animation. The 3th and 4th episode of the animation series roughly corresponds with the 2 unpublished books, but to link them with part one the second episode of the animation had to be written from scratch by co-scriptwriter Marina Vishnevetskaya, using the left out parts of the first book and bits and clues from the 2 later ones, which were published around 1985. The sequencing of the 4 animations is a bit strange because of it, as episode 2 is a prequel to 1, despite there not being a hint in episode 1 that there would be a prequel, while episodes 3 & 4 are sequels to 1. Yet it all corresponds with the intentions of the author.

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