S. Ya. Marshak, the tale "The Twelve Months": a brief content, analysis and characterization of the characters

Everybody loves fairy tales: both children and adults. Following the magical adventures of the heroes, we simultaneously receive the most important moral lessons, we become cleaner, kinder. The play-tale of S. Ya. Is very bright, poetic and light. Along with colorful characters, nature, generous in blizzards, snowdrops, berries and torrential rains, become the protagonist in it. The work is staged in many theaters, based on his motives a beautiful cartoon (1956) and a film for children (1972) were created.

History of creation

All of us since childhood remember the wonderful poems and tales of S. Ya. Marshak. The writer himself recalled that the little ones were forced to read books for adults, since there were no others. Perhaps that is why he paid so much attention to literature for children.

However, during the war, the writer switched to an adult audience. This lasted until the receipt of a letter from one boy.The child asked why his favorite author does not compose anything for children right now, when they are so scared? As a result, in 1943, the play-tale "Twelve months" was born. It is based on the Slovak legend of the New Year bonfire and the months of months gathered around it.

tale 12 months book


The dramatic tale "The Twelve Months" begins in the winter forest, where the wolf talks to the wise raven, and the hawk and the hare play in the burners. A stepdaughter, sent by stepmother for brushwood, sees this picture. She is surprised at the behavior of animals. A soldier met by chance explains that real miracles happen on New Year's Eve. He helps the girl to collect brushwood. She, in turn, shows the soldier the best Christmas tree, which he takes to the palace.

The fourteen-year-old queen is studying mathematics and calligraphy under the guidance of an elderly professor. In class, she is naughty and threatens to chop off the head of the teacher if he tries to contradict her. In the end, the young queen expresses a desire to get snowdrops for the New Year and signs the order. According to him, April came to the kingdom.To the one who brings snowdrops to the palace, she promises a whole basket of gold.

Stepmother and her greedy daughter passionately want to get a reward. They send their stepdaughter back from the forest, despite the heavy snowstorm. And forbidden to come home without snowdrops.

Magic meeting at the fire

Further in the fairy tale "Twelve months" tells about the wanderings of the freezing stepdaughter through the forest. Suddenly, she goes to the fire, behind which brothers of months of different ages sit. After a polite greeting, the girl tells them her sad story. Months have repeatedly seen in the forest a hard-working girl. To help her, January for one hour gives way to April.

meeting with 12 months

In addition to snowdrops, the stepdaughter receives a ring as a gift. If you drop it and say magic words, months will come to the rescue. Before leaving the girl promises not to tell anyone about what he saw. She returns home with a full basket of flowers.

Deceit and whims

While the stepdaughter sleeps, the stepmother daughter steals the magic ring from her hand. Waking up, the girl asks to return the gift. However, the stepmother and her daughter do not listen to her. They go to the palace, grabbing snowdrops.

The young queen does not want to admit the coming of the New Year without spring flowers. Having received them, she tries to find out where the "two persons" found them. Embarrassed stepmother and daughter make up a story about a wonderful lake in the forest, near which in the middle of winter flowers bloom, berries and mushrooms ripen. The queen wants to go there immediately. Fear of the death penalty makes the stepmother and her daughter confess to deception. They are sent for stepdaughter.

The queen with the courtiers is sent to the forest, where the tale "The Twelve Months" continues. Soldiers cut through the path of a noble procession. From the work of servicemen becomes hot, while the courtiers shiver from the cold. The queen, to keep warm, takes a broom and orders the rest to follow her example. At this time, a stepmother with a daughter and a gentle stepdaughter arrive.

The queen gives the last coat and promises other gifts. The stepdaughter asks for one thing: to return the stolen ring to her. Stepmother daughter has to do it. However, the queen's grace instantly gives way to anger, when the stepdaughter refuses to say where she got the snowdrops.

queen and stepdaughter


Events in the dramatic tale "Twelve Months" are developing rapidly.The stepdaughter is threatened with execution. With her rip off a fur coat, throw a ring into the hole. The girl barely manages to utter the magic words and immediately disappears. Spring comes in the forest. The joyful queen runs to the snowdrops, but faces the awakened bear. The courtiers are frightened, and only a soldier with a professor helps a capricious girl.

Following the spring comes summer, and then autumn with heavy rains and hurricanes. The courtiers in fear flee to the palace, taking all the horses. The queen is forgotten in the forest. She also has a stepmother with a daughter, an old professor and a soldier. Frosty winter returns. Heroes can not get out without horses and begin to freeze.

Then a mysterious old man appears and promises to fulfill everyone’s wishes. The queen asks to go home, the soldier - to the fire. The professor expresses his wish that the seasons will return to their proper places. Stepmother's daughter makes fur coats for herself and her mother, at least a dog. And then he gets them. Mother reproaches her for not asking for sable. For the altercation, the mysterious old man turns the stepmother and daughter into dogs. The soldier offers to harness them in a sleigh.

The final

The fairy tale play "Twelve Months" brings us back to the fire.Around him sit not only brothers-months, but also the stepdaughter. Magic characters give her a chest with beautiful outfits, sleighs and wonderful horses, and also promise to visit for a visit. At this time, the rest of the heroes approach the dog team. Months allow them to warm themselves around the fire. To return to the palace, the queen must ask for help from her stepdaughter, since gnawing dogs will not go far. However, the haughty girl does not know how to do this.

the queen asks for help from her stepdaughter

The soldier teaches her to ask for a good service. The stepdaughter sits everyone in her sleigh, presents them with fur coats. With the months she agrees to bring enchanted dogs to the New Year bonfire in three years. If they are corrected by that time, they will return the original look. Guests leave the forest. Months months sing a song for disturbed nature.


The tale "The Twelve Months" is closely related to folklore. The stepdaughter symbolizes all the best female qualities praised in Russia: kindness, diligence, modesty, politeness, honesty, patience, self-sacrifice. It is closely connected with the natural beginning, understands the language of animals, admires the beauty of the forest.This sincere, open girl can show firmness and go to death in order to preserve the confidential secret.

It is her nature that comes to the rescue, showing real miracles. The tale shows how love and tremendous respect for everything around them can transform the world around and the person himself. At the end of the story, the stepdaughter is dressed up in new clothes embroidered with silver. But even having transformed, she continues to sympathize with her enemies, comes to their rescue (learns how to return the old look to the stepmother with her daughter, brings the queen, although she wanted to execute her). It is to this moral standard that the author urges us to strive.

Stepmother and daughter

In many tales the good, meek orphan becomes the main character. The wicked stepmother and her spoiled daughter constantly offend the girl, but she does not hold on them evil. This folk tradition is clearly traced in Marshak’s tale “Twelve Months”.

stepmother with daughter

The stepmother and her daughter are mercantile. For the sake of wealth, they are able to destroy the stepdaughter, go to lie, betrayal. Even among themselves the heroines constantly quarrel. The daughter is ready to send her mother in the strongest snowstorm to look for snowdrops without any remorse.

Marshak shows that this attitude towards people leads to serious problems. In a fairy tale, a negative character is necessarily punished. World boomerang returns to man and good and evil. Selfish motives never lead to happiness.


Not all the heroes of the tale "Twelve Months" are so unequivocal. The fourteen-year-old queen is an orphan, which causes sympathy for herself. She had no one to bring up, as the girl grew up without parents. The courtiers worshiped her and performed all the whims. Swollen conceit led to horrific consequences. The queen is not familiar with moral norms, she used to easily dispose of the lives of her subjects. She is sure that even nature should fulfill her whims.

In this case, the girl is intelligent, insightful and knows how to draw the right conclusions. In her first conversation with the professor, she asked with hidden regret how he would punish his usual student for disobedience. And voluntarily goes to the corner, even for a few seconds. For the first time being in danger and feeling her helplessness, the girl understands the true attitude towards others. The courtiers flee in fear.An old professor and a soldier come to the aid of the young queen, although she treated them badly.

queen with courtiers

Left without support, the headstrong girl realizes her mistake and even finds the strength to meekly ask the stepdaughter for help. She is able to change for the better and takes the first steps in this direction. The character shows that anyone can make mistakes in life. It is important to recognize them in time and try to fix everything.

Other characters

Next to the Queen, we see flattering courtiers and hypocritical ambassadors. At the first danger, they all escape, dropping a wayward girl in the forest more often. This is the embodiment of insincere relationships between people.

The hero of the tale "Twelve Months" is a soldier. He is sympathetic, generous, always acts according to his conscience and thinks about the welfare of other people. A soldier does not obey the orders of superiors, if they are reckless, willing to sacrifice themselves and unassuming. He generously shares his desire to warm himself around the fire with the Professor and the Queen.

The old teacher is an ambiguous nature. He is educated, trying to live in harmony with the laws of nature, deeply worried because of the immorality and selfishness of the Queen.But at the same time, he is afraid of reprisals against himself and is being led by a naughty girl. This internal conflict is constantly eating the character. In a difficult moment, however, he does not lose his presence of mind, he boldly rushes to save the pupil from the bear. Marshak managed to portray a kind, honest, fair old man whom life compels to compromise with his conscience.

Images of Magic Brothers

The characteristic of the tale "Twelve Months" will not be complete without an analysis of its most mysterious characters. The brothers are the personification of natural elements, unshakable world order. At the same time, each subsequent month is younger than its predecessor. Through their images is shown not only the endless change of seasons, but also a change of generations.

stepdaughter award

Not easy to get to twelve months. In the fairy tale, only the stepdaughter comes to them in a short way, as she lives in harmony with nature and her soul. The rest are forced to pass the test. The brothers see right through each person. Someone they generously reward, and help someone to see the light, give moral lessons. But everyone, even the stepmother and her daughter, have the opportunity to improve.

The meaning of the play

In the fairy tale "The Twelve Months" good and evil traditionally lead their struggle. And this battle takes place against the backdrop of beautiful nature. She lives in her harmonious order. If a person, succumbing to selfish impulses, tries to destroy him, he is defeated.

A completely different attitude towards themselves is deserved by people who respect nature and the people around them. They maintain harmony in the soul, so they are able to see and feel more than others. For them, among the night, snow-covered forest burns a bright fire. During periods of serious trials, the light of his own soul illuminates their path, and the forces of nature come to the rescue, doing real miracles.

Having read the fairy tale “Twelve months” in full, you will surely admire her poetic, light and wise. Marshak showed us that there is nothing irreversible. It is necessary to learn to live in accordance with the laws of the world order, to be responsive to the misfortunes of another person and the beauty of the surrounding world.

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