One day a Hare and a Hedgehog went to the forest to gather mushrooms. Though indeed the inseparable friends lived in the forest, they went to the neighboring forest, which distinguished itself for boletus and honey agarics. But Babayka and Hocka followed them saying nothing. They sneaked after the friends by means of short runs, hiding themselves behind the trees in order not to be noticed.
After a while the two friends found themselves on a lawn where the grass was so high that it reached the Hare’s ears. The Hedgehog squatted at once and started to look for something in the grass.
— What are you looking for? – asked the Hare.
— Mushrooms, — said the Hedgehog with an air of importance.
— Mushrooms? – the Hare didn’t believe. – Why have you squatted then?
— Mushrooms hide themselves in such high grass. Can you see any mushrooms?
— No, — answered the Hare honestly.
— But there are lots of them here. Squat and you will see them.
The Hare followed the Hedgehog’s advice and squatted too. He looked around and saw a mushroom near him. It was a honey agaric.
— Hurray, I can see it! – cried the Hare. He cried so loudly that drew Babayka’s and Hocka’s attention. They were looking for the mushrooms too. They were looking under the bushes, searching in the fallen leaves and between the tree’s roots but couldn’t find a single mushroom. But when the Hare gave a cry, Babayka and Hocka understood at once that the Hare and the Hedgehog had found a mushroom spot and they rushed to the lawn immediately. Babayka and Hocka were wizards. Nobody could compete with them in gathering mushrooms. So quick they were! The Hare and the Hedgehog could hardly wink an eye, when Babayka and Hocka had already picked up all the mushrooms. And they vanished just as quickly as they had appeared.
— That’s all your fault, — grumbled the Hedgehog. – Why did you cry «mushrooms, mushrooms»? There are no mushrooms here at all now.
— Don’t get so upset. We’ll find another mushroom lawn, — assured the Hare his friend. And soon, indeed, the two friends found one more lawn with as many mushrooms as on the previous one. So, they started gathering mushrooms but very quietly this time not to let Babayka and Hocka hear them. But Babayka and Hocka were very cunning. They followed the Hare and the Hedgehog secretly and when they got sure that the friends had found a new mushroom spot, they dashed there and picked up all the mushrooms again as quickly as possible. The Hedgehog wanted to strike Babayka and Hocka but how could he catch these wizards! Even the quick Hare could never catch them.
Disappointed and angry, the Hare and the Hedgehog returned home.
— Why are you so sad? – asked them father Anton. He had come to the Hare’s and the Hedgehog’s place and was sitting on the porch of their comfortable house, waiting for their return.
— You better don’t ask, — answered the Hedgehog bitterly. And the Hare told father Anton a sad story about the way Babayka and Hocka had stolen all their mushrooms.
— They gather mushrooms so quick that it’s impossible to compete with them. They are as quick as meteors, — claimed the Hare.
— I know how to help you, — said father after some meditation. And he went home to the city. But, leaving, he said: — Wait for my arrival tonight.
— What about mushrooms? – asked the Hedgehog.
— You will set off for the mushrooms tomorrow.
So, father left by the forest bus, but he returned back in the evening as he had promised. He was carrying a big bag in his hand. Having entered the house he put the bag in the middle of the room.
— What is there? — the Hare and the Hedgehog looked curiously at the bag. And father got two strange things out of it.
— This is a mushroom periscope, — said father and offered the Hedgehog some marvelous glasses with transparent tubes going down, where they were connected to a tiny sparkling mechanism with a glass eye.
— And is this a torch? – asked the Hare, pointing at the sparkling thing.
— It’s you, who are a torch! This is a web-camera, — announced the Hedgehog businesslike. – I saw the Wolf with such one.
— Right, this is a web-camera, — nodded father and explained how the mushroom periscope functioned: — It’s you, Hedgehog, who will use the periscope. You will put on the glasses and low down the web-camera to the very grass.
— I’ve get it! – exclaimed the Hedgehog. – I will not have to bend or squat with such thing as this periscope. I will just walk about the forest and look for the mushrooms as if nothing happens. Babayka and Hocka will not suspect anything.
— You are quite right, Hedgehog! – praised him father. – You will act this way tomorrow.
— Hold on, — said the Hare doubtfully. – But how will we pick up mushrooms? We will surely have to bend in order to take a mushroom. Babayka and Hocka will realize at once why we bend to the ground and will attack us like locusts.
— You too have reason, Hare. Nice of you! – said father. While saying this he took off the second mechanism which resembled a vacuum-cleaner from his bag.
— A vacuum-cleaner, — pronounced the Hare and the Hedgehog simultaneously.
— Not an ordinary vacuum-cleaner, but a mushroom one, — corrected them father. – Do you see scissors here? They serve to cut mushrooms…
— And the vacuum-cleaner will suck in the cut mushrooms, — caught the Hare father’s thought. – Such a great idea!
— And again you don’t need to bend, — said the Hedgehog gladly. – You just walk about the forest, stroll… and meanwhile vacuum mushrooms in the way nobody sees it.
— Right. You two set off to the forest with these mechanisms tomorrow and I guarantee you a huge mushroom crop! – comforted father Anton the two friends.
In the morning they took a periscope, a mushroom vacuum-cleaner, a couple of sandwiches and a thermos-bottle with tea and set off to search a mushroom lawn.
— It seems to me that Babayka and Hocka are following us, — whispered the Hare, looking back from time to time.
— Don’t look back. Walk calmly as if you are just taking a stroll and breathing a fresh air. Babayka and Hocka will guess nothing.
Soon the friends found a new lawn. There were an uncountable number of mushrooms on it. They even didn’t need periscope to notice them. But the mushrooms were a bit strange. The Hare stepped on one of them accidentally and gave a sudden cry: a thick smoke went out of it.
— Wow! A smoky mushroom!
— Babayka and Hocka are following us and you are crying again! – scolded the Hedgehog the Hare.
— But it doesn’t matter; we can’t pick up these mushrooms this way or that. They are smoky, — started the Hare to justify himself, but the Hedgehog interrupted him: — Hush, Hare, I’ve got a plan.
And the Hedgehog whispered something impatiently to the Hare’s ear. After that they started to gather mushrooms diligently: the Hedgehog found mushrooms with the help of the periscope and the Hare cut them with the scissors and sucked with the vacuum-cleaner.
At this very time Babayka and Hocka were observing them from behind a bush.
— How long will they walk doing nothing? When will they pick up mushrooms? – Babayka felt nervous.
— Perhaps, they have realized, that we are following them. So, they don’t hurry to look for the mushrooms, — supposed Hocka.
— I am fed up with waiting! – burst out Babayka. – I will go and have a look at what they are doing there.
And Babayka headed to the lawn, Hocka could hardly catch up with his friend.
— So, that’s the matter! – exclaimed Babayka seeing how mushrooms were disappearing in a wonderful vacuum-cleaner. – Give it to me of your own free will! Otherwise I will take it from you myself.
— You are wicked and ill-mannered wizards! – said the Hare, giving the mushroom vacuum-cleaner to Babayka and Hocka. And then he addressed the Hedgehog: — Let’s go, Hedgehog.
— Let’s go, Hare, — answered the Hedgehog. – Let them have all our mushrooms. But we have sandwiches and a thermos-bottle with tea.
And the two friends went away from the lawn. The Hare, as usually, couldn’t withstand the temptation and turned back to look. At this very moment a loud bang was heard behind them and they saw a thick smoke. It was Hocka, who opened the vacuum-cleaner with the smoky mushrooms.
— They have outsmarted us! – cried Babayka, coughing with mushroom smoke. – They need punishment.
— It’s our own fault, — said Hocka suddenly, defending the Hare and the Hedgehog. – We left them without mushrooms for so many times. That’s why the Hare and the Hedgehog gave us a lesson!
— So, what shall we do? – asked Babayka.
— I think, we should make it up with the Hare and the Hedgehog, — suggested Hocka.
— But how can we make it up with them?
— We’ll find a lawn, all covered with mushrooms for them.
— But not with such mushrooms like these ones, — Babayka coughed of smoke again.
— Certainly not. We’ll find real mushrooms for them.
Soon Babayka and Hocka stuck to their word and found a lawn, all covered with cheerful honey agarics. Babayka and Hocka led the Hare and the Hedgehog to this lawn. There were enough mushrooms for all of them, even for father Anton and mother Sasha who had come to gather mushrooms too.
It’s amazing why the idea to pick up mushrooms together hadn’t come to their minds earlier?