Prompted by: The Surprise~William Barnes

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And there, with stores of harmless joys,

Young Illya ran smiling, heading home to the dacha.

He'd received an award in mathematics at his school and was the envy

of the other students.

Papa beamed with pride.

"The bullies did not bother me today." Illya said happily. "Perhaps they will stop?"

"We can only hope my son."

.

And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.

Illya was a serious child, but this honor made him smile, much to parents delight.

The boy laughed and played with his little sister; showing her the medal he'd received.

"Can I have it Illie?" Katiya pleaded.

"Of course," he smiled. "Promise me you will be careful with it."

"Da."

.

And one skipped on with downcast face,

The next day at school Illya was set upon by the bullies, dashing his hopes at peace between them.

"Kuryakin, your family are bourgeois elitists. You are a stuck up pig! Show off! You think you are better than us!" They shouted as they punched and kicked him.

He ran...

.

And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.

"Why the tears?" Mama called to him, but needed no answer when she saw her beautiful boy's bruised and bloodied face.

"I am fine," Illya insisted, as she washed his wounds.

"We will see about this."

"Please Mama, nyet?"

"It ends tomorrow, once and for all." She hugged him.

.

And one pulled on behind her heel,

Illya's mother stormed to school the next morning with him trailing behind her.

She threatened the headmaster with a wagging finger, swearing to cut off a certain body part that he treasured.

The man promised her the bullying would stop.

Illya, though embarrassed, admired the power in his mother's words.