Chicken Ryaba, buddhism and emptiness – an interpretation on an old Russian folk tale

As one of their first fairy tales, children in the Russian speaking countries used to get told an old Russian folk tale about Kurochka (Chicken) Ryaba. It is a very simple story (see below*) that is not so simple once you start trying to figure out its meaning. After an extensive (a couple of days online) and fascinating research I have concluded my findings in the following poem, heavily influenced by buddhist teachings on emptiness and dharma. The sort of things you do on a mini retirement…

* Kurochka (Chicken) Ryaba is an old Russian folk tale about a poor old couple whose chicken lays a golden egg. An old man and woman have no clue what to do with it. The appearance of the golden egg causes all sorts of disasters and chaos in the village and only after a mouse destroys the golden egg, the peace is restored. An old man and woman are sad and Ryaba consoles them with a promise that she would never again lay anything but common eggs. 

Don’t think of her as chicken,

Think of her as God. 

A great guru wears many colours. 

She plays with form. Her karma

Is to witness suffering 

And do nothing. 

And if out of emptiness 

She creates something 

The law of duality

That is God itself 

Instantly restores the balance

By unleashing Shiva. A mouse. 

What is gold? Light and abundance

Or darkness and death? 

An invitation for destruction. 

A chicken laying gold eggs

Isn’t a miracle but an apocalypse 

In the great scheme of things. 

We create and we destroy. 

A mouse brings back balance. 

A broken egg serves as a reminder 

That we can not fill emptiness. 

That karmic path is lonely. 

God bows. No more miracles. 



About nomadoftheuniverse

Nomad of the Universe, nobody special, Buddhist, student of Ram Dass. I write about happiness, meaning and spirituality. My book on Love Addiction is out on Amazon now.
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